BARCLAYS ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Former Champion Djokovic Beats Tsonga In Group A; Plays Murray Wednesday
by James Buddell|
The World No. 1 improved to 20-10 this season against Top 10 opponents by beating Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes. He struck 24 winners and won 13 of his 19 service points, while Tsonga committed 26 unforced errrors, 13 of which came on his forehand wing.
Djokovic absorbed pressure from Tsonga in the opening set, which saw him save three break points and find himself lunging and diving across the court at The O2 in London. The Serbian took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, ending rallies with clinical precision at the net to negate Tsonga’s power, and clinched the 66-minute opener, having hit 12 winners. Tsonga had committed seven forehand and nine backhand errors.
“The opening set obviously could have gone either way," said Djokovic. "To be quite honest, he was the better player throughout the first set. I faced many break points, and I didn't have any in the opening set. I managed to serve well, play well, stay mentally tough, and tried to fight my way through."
Djokovic took a 2-0 lead in the second set, as Tsonga’s potent serve failed him momentarily. Djokovic maintained a position of strength from behind the baseline, committing just five unforced errors and hitting 10 winners past Tsonga, who continued to hunt for easy putaways at the net. Djokovic won all seven of his forays to the net, leaving Tsonga stretched and often frustrated. The Frenchman fell to 0/30 at 3-5 and couldn’t deny Djokovic his 71st match win of the season.
"My next match [on Wednesday], against Andy, is always a big challenge," admitted Djokovic. "He had the lots of success in London, playing in his town, in front of his crowd. We know a lot about each other. I'm sure that we're going to come up with some really good tennis." Murray and Djokovic trained together on Saturday at The O2 in London.
Tsonga, making his third straight appearance at the event, drops to 1-13 against the Top 10 elite this year and to 55-23 overall. He won his ninth ATP World Tour title at the Moselle Open in Metz in September.
“I just had many chances in the first set,” said Tsonga, who plays Tomas Berdych on Wednesday. “I missed it again. I think the difference was there. It's more he's taking his chances all the time, and me, I miss on big points. The next match will be really important for me. If I want to stay in the competition, I have to win it. I will give everything to do that."
More than 34,000 people came out to The O2 on Day 1 of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, with 16,524 in attendance during the day session and 17,487 in the night session.