Tsonga defeats countryman Monfils in Tokyo opener

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This year’s Marseille title holder Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Bio), seed number two at the Japan Open in Tokyo, toppled his countryman Gael Monfils (Bio) in straight sets – he advanced to the second round by winning  6-3, 7-6 (8), thus improving the ATP Head-to-Head record to 4-1. Tsonga, who held all of his service games during the match, will now square off against Croat Ivan Dodig.

Sixth seed Nicolas Almagro (Bio), who played in two ATP finals this year, edged out 73rd-ranked Benjamin Becker (Bio) of Germany in two closely-fought sets. Neither of the players dropped a service game over course of the match, so both sets were inevitably decided after a tie-break lottery with the Spaniard ultimately wrapping up the proceedings with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) triumph. The athletes spent one hour and a half on the hard court in Tokyo.

Almagro’s next challenger Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos (Bio) prevailed over US qualifier Ryan Harrison (Bio) in three sets. The American was outclassed in the opener where he dropped three service games in a row and could not get a foothold until falling 0-3 behind in the beginning of the following set. He improved largely after that by turning the tide in the second set and forced the decider, yet he suffered a narrow defeat nonetheless. In the end, The World no. 53 Argentine progressed to the second round of Japan Open 2013 with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

After withdrawal of Gilles Simon, the first seeded player to leave the tournament is South African Kevin Anderson (Bio) who was eliminated by a qualifier Lukas Lacko (Bio). The Slovak player lost the opening service game, but fought his way back to move one nil up before converting the first match point in the second-set tie-break to win 6-4, 7-6 (2). He will meet unseeded Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the last 16.

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