Seed number two Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Player Profile) conquered Japan Open in 2009, but could not make it past round of 16 this year as he was sent home by 34th-ranked Ivan Dodig (Player Profile) who thus maintained a perfect head-to-head record against the Frenchman, beating him for the second time after Queen’s 2012. The unseeded Croat was efficient in the opener as he converted the only break point of the set early on and capitalized on the advantage by moving one nil up. Tsonga’s serve was never under a threat in the second set, whilst Dodig faced a triple break point in the sixth game, yet he escaped the danger and ultimately overcame the French number one in the tie-break to win 6-4, 7-6 (5). Both players scored 9 aces over course of the match, whilst the ratio of total points won was 73-67 in favor of the winner.
“If he plays like that he can be Top 10 for sure,” Tsonga admitted after the loss and confirmed that his recovery from a left knee injury will take another two months. “I have to play matches, if I am to come back to my best. My movement was not perfect and maybe I took a little longer to get into the match, but he played a good match.”
Dodig’s quarter-final opponent will be unseeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen (Player Profile) who got the better off lucky loser Michal Przysiezny (Player Profile). The Pole succeeded to turn around his fist round match against Granollers, yet this time it was he who dropped out of the tournament after squandering a one set advantage. World no. 92 Przysiezny seized the first-set tie-break after saving a set point in the twelfth game, but was broken early in the second set which allowed the Finn to square things up. The latter took over the initiative in the decider and kept his rival at bay by breaking him twice before completing a comeback with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 victory after two hours of tennis in Tokyo.
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