An intriguing opening round match-up is set to take place on Monday afternoon at the Mutua Madrid Open as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lukas Rosol get set to cross paths for the third time on the ATP World Tour. Their last meeting was a Davis Cup semi-final showdown, which Tsonga won to secure the tie and also extend his head-to-head to 2-0 in the series.
Shorty after his return to the ATP World Tour following an injury, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved over to the red dust for the start of the clay court season. The Frenchman had missed the majority of the season-opening hard court swing Down Under and was keen to get back on track. He looked promising in Monte Carlo, where he beat Jan-Lennard Struff and David Goffin before losing to Marin Cilic in the fourth round. Afterwards, he suffered a surprising setback against Marcel Granollers in his opening match in Barcelona, which ended his Spanish campaign right after it began.
Tsonga will come up against Czech No. 2 Lukas Rosol, who most recently lost to Andy Murray in the quarter-final stage in Munich. It was his best showing on clay so far this season, as he lost his opener in Monte Carlo to Bernard Tomic and his second match in Bucharest to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. However, while he is gradually adjusting to clay, his name will remain in the headlines this week for his shove of Murray during their match, to which Murray swiftly responded, ‘no one likes you.’
This marks the third time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Tsonga leading the head-to-head series 2-0. Their last meeting was a clay court match-up during the 2014 Davis Cup semi-finals, which France won convincingly. Tsonga beat Rosol in straight sets on that particular surface and will look to complete a similar feat this time around at the Madrid Masters.
Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Three Sets