This past Tuesday morning in Tokyo started out in peculiar fashion, as top seed Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost their first round matches in the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
Wildcard entrant Tatsuma Ito earned one of the biggest wins of his career when he dispatched the world No. 4 7-5, 6-2 in the opening round in Tokyo. It was a remarkably inspired performance in front of his local crowd.
“I played a very good match,” said Ito. “It is the first time I have beaten a Top 5 player. I tried my best every point and I was very focused. I was a little nervous, but I stuck to my game and I finished well.”
The world No. 103 struck 3 aces, won 73% of his first serve points and converted all four break point opportunities to close out the contest in 79 minutes.
“It was not a good day at the office,” Wawrinka stated. “He started well and then I was trying to come back in the match. First round matches are never easy. He played well, particularly at the end of the first set when he was very aggressive.”
According to ATPWorldTour.com, the last time Wawrinka lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 was last year in the Topshelf Open final against then-ranked No. 240 Nicholas Mahut.
Shortly thereafter, world No. 142 Michal Przysiezny ousted France’s Tsonga 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(9) in two hours and 23 minutes. Tsonga had two varying match point opportunities in the final set but failed to convert on them and ultimately paid the price.
“I came here expecting to play good tennis, but I have not had much energy the past few days,” said Tsonga. “I have had a stomach virus, which has given me trouble. My body was not strong enough to compete at my best level. I tried my best on the court and gave everything.”