Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro are through to the second round of Dubai Tennis Championship, while Tsonga fell short against Michael Llodra.
Third seed Czech Berdych was a dominant figure in his first professional encounter with US player Rajeev Ram, ranked number 103. The opening set was over in twenty minutes as the Czech got hold of a two break cushion by 5-0 and served it out with a love hold a couple of games later. In the second set Ram resisted his opponent’s pressure until 2-2 when he was broken again, allowing Berdych to go 4-2 up. The American suffered another loss of serve in the last game of the match, so the third seed advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 end score after fifty-minutes of tennis.
Fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was victorious last week in Marseille, but could not regain his strength fast enough to book a second round ticket in Dubai. Everything was going according to his plan though as he broke his countryman Llodra early on, yet World No. 67 Llodra annulled the lead by 4-4 and was able to capitalize on two mini-breaks he achieved later on in the tie-breaker and win the opener. The level of Tsonga’s performance dropped in the following set as he let his fellow Frenchman to break him twice by 5-2. Llodra would not let go off the opportunity and he gladly served out the first round match to progress with a 7-6 (3), 6-2 straight sets victory. This is the first time 32-year-old Llodra has beaten Tsonga in seven ATP matches they have played so far.
Fourth seed Del Potro, who his chasing his 15th ATP trophy, spent two and a half hours on the court and fended off three match balls before entering second round. He was 1-2 behind in H2H series against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, and their first round face-off in Dubai was always going to be tight. Baghdatis converted the only break ball chance in the opening set to ensure a one nil lead. Likewise, DelPo took advantage of his very first break point to clinch the set number two. Baghdatis broke the deadlock in the decider and went 3-1 up, yet the Argentine was back in the game by 4-4. The Cypriot then held his serve and walked his opponent to the edge of the cliff in the next game, but Del Potro escaped a three match ball scare and celebrated victory after prevailing in the last set tie-break. He took this one with 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) final result.