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Sijsling Ousts Tsonga On Home Soil; Simon Beats Brands In Opener

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Sijsling© Henk KosterIgor Sijsling knocked out third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Wild card Igor Sijsling ousted World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 to claim his first Top 10 victory on home soil Monday evening at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Sijsling withstood 14 aces from the third-seeded Frenchman and saved seven of the eight break points he faced to clinch the upset in two hours. He and Tsonga were meeting for the first time.

“He played and served well. He was good on the big points and took his chances. That's it,” assessed Tsonga. “I didn't play too bad. The last game was not good, since I was broken for the first time in the match.”

The Dutchman improved to 3-4 this season. He is looking to win back-to-back matches for the first time in 2013. Sijsling also reached the Australian Open doubles final, partnering Robin Haase to a runner-up finish (l. to Bryans).

Fifth seed Gilles Simon opened campaign with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Germany’s Daniel Brands. The Frenchman converted three of his 10 break points and won 81 per cent of points on his first serve to seal the win in one hour and 32 minutes.

The No. 14-ranked Simon is coming off a quarter-final showing at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (l. to Paire) and improved to a 6-3 record on the season. The 28 year old’s best performance in five previous visits to Rotterdam was a semi-final showing in 2008 (l. to Soderling).

Simon goes onto face Italian qualifier Matteo Viola, who defeated Spain’s Marcel Granollers 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in just over two hours.

Romania’s Victor Hanescu claimed his second tour-level win of the season as he upset seventh seed Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6(4), 6-3. Hanescu countered Janowicz’s 10 aces with eight of his own and broke serve twice to prevail in one hour and 32 minutes. The 22-year-old Janowicz was one of the breakthrough acts of 2012, reaching the final at the BNP Paribas Masters to catapult into the Top 30 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

In a first-time meeting, Grigor Dimitrov defeated Bernard Tomic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Dimitrov won 86 per cent of his first serve points in the deciding set to advance in one hour and 33 minutes. The Bulgarian improved to 7-4 on the year, highlighted by a runner-up finish to Andy Murray at the Brisbane International.

“I think it was a pretty fair match from both of us,” said Dimitrov. “We both struggled at the beginning of the match. In the first set, he was trying to find his rhythm, and then he got into the match. At the end, I had a couple of good returns in the third set and afterwards, I served it out.”

Dimitrov faces Nikolay Davydenko next. The Russian dismissed eighth seed Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-2, breaking the German five times for a 67-minute victory.

Slovakia’s Martin Klizan edged past Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in just over two hours. The No. 31-ranked Klizan is making his debut at this ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tournament. 

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