Tsonga to meet Davydenko in Metz semifinal

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has moved through to the semifinal of Metz after avoiding a minor scare against American opponent Jesse Levine. Levine broke in the first game of the match from 40-15 down and consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead but would struggle for long parts after that. A fourteen deuce fourth game saw six game points blown and eight break points saved before Levine finally buckled under the pressure of his much higher ranked opponent as he was eventually broken at the ninth time of asking.

It would be the last time Levine would lead as Tsonga took control, winning five games in a row in total to force his opponent to serve for the set. Levine would do so but could not do anything on return as Tsonga sealed the set with a simple hold to 15. After failing to convert break points in three of the first four service games in set two, it seemed like Tsonga would come to regret his wastefulness but the breakthrough was finally made at 4-4. Another comfortable hold to serve it out would confirm the 6-3 6-4 victory for the Frenchman, who announced earlier today that he was still suffering from a finger injury picked up way back in June.

Tsonga will face Nikolay Davydenko in the semis after the Russian came back from a set down to defeat Ivo Karlovic 6-7 (5)  7-6 (6)  6-0. It really should have been a straight sets victory for Davydenko who was wasteful after converting a break in the first game of the match. He would hold all the way until 5-4 as he served for the set. After recovering to 30-30 from 0-30 down in said game, Davydenko finally collapsed under the pressure and would drop his serve at the second opportunity to Karlovic. Love holds were then shared so a tiebreak would decide the set. After moving into a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak, Davydenko was in a commanding position but yet again let slip – this time dropping points six and ten of the tiebreak to eventually allow Karlovic a 7-4 victory in the breaker.

Losing the first set in such a fashion looked to have affected Davydenko who immediately fell down 0-40 but he would manage to win five points in a row to hold and get off to a good start eventually in the set. Davydenko did get a chance later on at 2-1* to break but it would the break point would be snuffed out with a massive ace as the Karlovic finally held. The Croatian carved out another opening at 0-30 but again would not be able to do anything from that point on in the return game. From then on serve began to be dominant as the pair exchanged love holds before an excellent pick-up from a Karlovic stop volley ended the run on nine straight points for the server.

Karlovic yet again piled the pressure on at 4-4 only an excellent forehand down the line could stop him from getting the opportunity to serve for the match on the first. The Croatian’s slice returning was troubling Davydenko throughout the set but let him down on the second break point as it was netted from a Davydenko serve. Big serving aided Karlovic on his way to an emphatic hold to stay in the set and repeated the trick to bring up the second tie-breaker of the match. After wrong footing Davydenko to take the mini-break with the first point, he would fail to hold on as an excellent return of serve tied things up. The Russian would attempt the same trick but this time it would fail to make it over the net.

Davydenko would finally get the minibreak when Karlovic’s misjudgements led to a backhand going wide. After the change of ends Karlovic would keep the deficit close and would be rewarded when a Davydenko double fault squared it up at 4-4. Davydenko would take his second point but a serve and volley from Karlovic would tie it up once more and a huge serve brought up a Karlovic match point for the first time. Both points would be won by Davydenko to earn his first set point and he would take it after a poor volley went well wide from Karlovic.

Davydenko would take control from the start of the final set and finally broke Karlovic for the first time since the opening game of the match hitting a backhand pass past his helpless opponent. Any doubt Davydenko would go on to take the match was erased when he forced Karlovic into the slice error to earn a *3-0 lead. The set would go very quickly and a third break of the set allowed Davydenko to serve for a bagel, which he would do so with ease to move into the next round.

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