It took some time for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to work out Omar Jasika’s game, but once the first set was under his belt it was a fairly routine straight sets victory out on Margaret Court Arena.
Jasika’s Joyous Start
It was the former Junior US Open champion who made the stronger start, breaking the ninth seed in the fifth game. Tsonga responded well, breaking straight back to leave us with a tight opening set in prospect. In the eighth game the man from Melbourne recovered from 0-40 down to hold serve, delighting the home crowd.
Tsonga Turns On The Style
The 18 year old was bidding to become the youngest man to reach the third round since his compatriot Bernard Tomic did back in 2011, but it was not going to be an easy task. The young Australian was giving Tsonga plenty to think about when returning, looking to be aggressive and take the ball early. However it was on serve where he fell short, making a string of errors due to poor shot selection, subsequently relinquishing the set to the Frenchman 7-5.
The 2008 runner-up sensed the opportunity to distance himself score line wise and stepped up his level. The Frenchman won the opening eight points in set number two to obtain a 0-40 advantage on Jasika’s serve. A lovely angled drop volley at the net helped him a save a first but could not prevent him from being broken and going 3-0 down after just eight minutes.
Ominous Signs For Omar
The pressure of the score line far from in the Australian’s favor forced him into looking to make something happen, going for his shots more. This led to the emergence of a few shanked balls in his next service game, resulting in a third loss of serve in a row for the crowd favorite.
With one hour on the clock any likely hopes of salvaging the set hinged on Jasika taking his opportunity at 30 all on Tsonga’s serve. But being the experienced player, which the 30 year old is, he shut the door, initially with a pickup volley almost off of his shoes and then an overhead smash put away in the following point to take a 5-0 lead.
With Tsonga in cruise control at this point, despite Jasika’s battling hold to stop the rot the Frenchman hit a ninth ace of the match on his way to wrapping up a comfortable service hold and with that that second set 6-1.
Similar Pattern In Set Number Three
After a series of service holds to open the third set Tsonga looked to take a stranglehold on the match, ripping two backhands cross court to bring up break point opportunities. The Australian wildcard saved the first two, but could not handle the Frenchman’s firepower on the third chance.
A further sequence of service holds left the ninth seed with the chance to close out the set and the match. It was ace number 14 which completed a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 victory after an hour and 44 minutes.
It was a better performance from Tsonga once he got going at the end of the first set compared to his match against Marcos Baghdatis in the last round, but there is still room for improvement if he is to go deep into the second week. His opponent in round three will be French compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who saw off Noah Rubin in straight sets earlier today 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.