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Tsonga Leads Seeds Into Johannesburg Quarter-finals

Johannesburg, South Africa

Reg Caldecott© Getty Images

Top-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remains on course to capture his fourth ATP World Tour title after defeating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-4 in 63 minutes for a place in the SA Tennis Open quarter-finals. Tsonga hit four aces, won 25 of 28 first service points and converted all three break point opportunities to improve to 9-2 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season. Istomin, 22, won just 13 points on return of serve.

The 23 year old Tsonga has now advanced to the quarter-finals for the fourth time in as many tournaments this year. He opened the 2009 ATP World Tour season with last eight exits in Brisbane (l. to Gasquet), Sydney (W/O Nieminen) and the Australian Open (l. to Verdasco). He dropped seven places to No. 14 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings after his exit at the first Grand Slam championship of the season.

Fourth-seeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since September 2008 at Bucharest (d. Moya) after knocking out Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 45 minutes. World No. 74 Garcia-Lopez saved six of seven break points and won 69 per cent of service points. He made a second round exit at the Australian Open (l. to Safin).

The La Roda, Albacete resident will next meet 23-year-old Portuguese Federico Gil, who saved one match point while fighting back from a one-set and 1-3 deficit to beat South African wild card Rik de Voest 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes. The World No. 99 advanced to the Estoril quarter-finals (l. to Federer) in May 2008. The 28-year-old de Voest last won back-to-back ATP World Tour matches at 2004 Indianapolis.

Fifth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on February 12, advanced to his second ATP World Tour quarter-final this year after beating Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-4 in 75 minutes. Chardy who has a 5-3 season record, advanced to the Sydney quarter-finals (l. to Gasquet) last month. World No. 505 Chiudinelli drops to 15-22 lifetime in ATP World Tour matches.

French qualifier Sebastien de Chaunac withstood 14 aces from South African wild card Izak van der Merwe in a 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(5) win over two hours and 49 minutes to advance to the last eight of an ATP World Tour tennis tournament since February 2005 at Marseille (l. to Ancic).

Seventh-seeded Belgian Kristof Vliegen, who finished 2008 in the Top 100 for the fourth straight year, recorded a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 victory over Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic in 61 minutes.


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