Jo-Wilfried Tsonga leaned on the home crowd and some big hitting to earn his first ATP Masters 1000 win in more than two years on Monday at the Rolex Paris Masters. The 34-year-old Frenchman beat VTB Kremlin Cup champion Andrey Rublev of Russia 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and will next meet 10th seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
“I’m delighted to have won today. Everything was not perfect, obviously, but the most important thing is to have won. In the last two sets, I played good tennis,” Tsonga said.
The 23-year-old Berrettini is currently in eighth place in the ATP Race To London, which ends Sunday, and is looking to qualify for the first time at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.
Tsonga, a wild-card recipient at his home Masters 1000 event, broke Rublev in the 11th game of the second set with some aggressive returning. The Frenchman increasingly ran around Rublev’s second serve in the final two sets to smash forehands and immediately put Rublev on defence.
“During the second set, I was closer to the line. The aim was to outpace him. And I wanted to be very aggressive… to put a lot of pressure on him,” Tsonga said. “I managed to be more aggressive in my game. So it was quite good.”
The 2008 champion slugged 47 winners, including 23 from his forehand wing, and served out the first-rounder. Tsonga, who missed more than seven months last year because of left knee surgery, last won at the Masters 1000 level in May 2017 at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Frenchman Jeremy Chardy set a second-round date with fourth seed Daniil Medvedev by beating American Sam Querrey 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in a battle of qualifiers. Chardy was out-aced (15 to 22) but earned three breaks to Querrey’s one. Medvedev will try to push his ATP Masters 1000 winning streak to 12 after winning back-to-back titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai.
Top Doubles Seeds Advance
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who have already guaranteed themselves the year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team Ranking, continued their career-best season on Monday with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Nikola Metic and Franko Skugor in the first round of the Rolex Paris Masters.
The Colombians have never advanced past the Round of 16 at the season’s final ATP Masters 1000 event. But they will have a chance to do so against fellow Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury or Robin Haase/Wesley Koolhof.
Hubert Hurkacz and Jan-Lennard Struff sprung an upset against two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-4, 7-6(10). Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald also pulled off a surprise, eliminating sixth seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-1, 6-7(2), 10-7.