Tsonga Shocked, Fish Survives Scare at US Open 2012

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In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, the fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was defeated in four sets by Slovakia’s Martin Klizan by a score of 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3. Much more known for his clay exploits, this was his best hard court win to date.

It was clear from the start that Tsonga was struggling to deal with his lefty opponent and he gave up a break with a mindless drop shot in the first game of the set. Utilising the wide serve/forehand combo well, he hit the forehand down the line extremely well.  A sloppy service game saw Tsonga tie it up at the fifth time of asking but he would gift it straight back, losing four points in a row to drop serve to love. After the pair shared comfortable holds, Klizan looked nervy serving for the set. After missing two set points, it was third time lucky as a big serve saw him take it.

Tsonga was being troubled regularly on his serve and it looked like another break was imminent when he went down 0-40 but his serve reappeared as he fought hard and held for the lead in the set. Klizan would live to regret not taking one of those break points as he immediately gave up his serve after a very poorly selected drop shot sailed wide. Tsonga then ran away with the set, winning 5 games in succession but failed to get the bagel despite being as close as 30-30 in the sixth game of the set.

It would be expected from then on that Tsonga would take control but this was not to be the case. After another hold, Klizan went up 0-40 on the Tsonga serve and this time he would take advantage as a shank forehand gave him a *2-0 lead. Errors began to rack up and it was Klizan this time that took a 5-0 lead but could not get the bagel either. A forehand long on the Slovakian’s second set point gave him a 2-1 lead and realistic belief that he could shock his more illustrious opponent.

Carrying on where he left off in Set 3, Tsonga could not keep the ball in play and was broken to 15. Klizan had much success in attacking the Tsonga backhand and after holding, brought up break points for a double break lead. A scuffed forehand on the third break point gave Klizan a double break lead as he began to run away with the match. Tsonga did retrieve one of the two breaks from a visibly nervy opponent who, at 4-3, could not get a first serve in play but finally managed to hold despite being incredibly tight. It was up to the Frenchman to serve to stay in the match but he was unable to do so, with a lazy looking serve and volley attempt going awry and giving Klizan the biggest win of his career to date.

Mardy Fish avoided a shocking early exit as he became the tenth player this tournament to come from two sets down to win a match defeating Nikolay Davydenko 4-6 6-7 6-2 6-1 6-2. Fish struggled on serve from the start, and dropped his serve in the first game after blowing a 40-0 lead and multiple other game points. Dominant on serve for most of the set, Davydenko’s nerves got the better off him as he could not close out the set on his own serve. Thankfully for the Russian, Fish was just as suspect in his service game and a shank on the third set point saw him lose the set.

The second set saw very little excitement as serve was dominant. In a set that saw no deuces, a tiebreak looked very likely from the start. After taking a 3-1 lead in the breaker, Fish began to unravel as he lost 3 of the next 4 service points to lose by a score of 4-7 with the decisive point being gifted by Fish’s weak backhand into the net.

The third set looked very much like the second with serve dominant and break points at a premium. Finally in the fourth game, Fish reached break points for the first time in a while and did not pass up the chance for a *3-1 lead. At 5-2*, some excellent returning saw Fish break again as Davydenko began to miss more and more. From then on, the American was getting more and more looks on his opponents serve and rushed into a 2-0 lead with a love break, only to allow him back into the set with yet another shank error. It would be the last look Davydenko had in the match as the set was closed out fairly comprehensively winning just four points as he lost the last four games and consequently the set 6-1. Fish broke Davydenko’s serve for the fifth and sixth times in a row as he rushed into a 4-0 lead and the result was never in doubt from then on as the pair exchanged holds until the end. Fish hit an ace to bring up match point and another of Davydenko’s 45 unforced errors sealed the win as he put another forehand wide.

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