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Tsonga Ends Fish Comeback, Sets Raonic Clash

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Tsonga© Getty ImagesJo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied from 0-4 down in the second set to beat Mardy Fish.

Eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended Mardy Fish’s comeback at the BNP Paribas Open, beating the American 7-6(4), 7-6(0) on Tuesday in the third round. Fish had his chances to take the match to three sets, letting slip a 4-0 lead in the second set and being broken to love when serving for the set at 5-4. Tsonga dominated the ensuing tie-break to prevail in two hours and nine minutes.

Fish had made his comeback after a six-month lay-off by beating Bobby Reynolds in the second round. The American, a runner-up in Indian Wells five years ago (l. to Djokovic), had been forced off the ATP World Tour due to a heart condition. 

"I felt like I could have easily won the match," said Fish. "Bunch of break points obviously in the first set, and the second set was what it was. Tennis wise it's a good sign that it hasn't taken too long to get the form back. I usually don't lose 4-0 sets very often.  I can't remember the last one. Maybe just not being in that position I'm sure had something to do with it."

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The 27-year-old Tsonga has an 11-3 match record on the season, highlighted by winning the Marseille title (d. Berdych) and reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Federer). He is bidding to reach the quarter-finals of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time.

Tsonga goes on to face Canadian No. 17 seed Milos Raonic, who rallied from a set down to defeat 12th-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Raonic was playing his first match of the tournament after receiving a first-round bye and a walkover through the second round when Michael Llodra withdrew. He fired 16 aces and broke serve twice to defeat Cilic in just under two hours.

“I think I didn't have any rhythm,” said Cilic. “I didn't have a match really to pick up off. Especially against Marin, he plays really well. He plays very consistent. He changes up quickly, so he moves well for a tall guy. I was trying to force a little bit too much.”

Looking ahead to the Tsonga clash, Raonic said, “He's been playing well consistently since the start of this year. I've just got to get out there and focus. We're both going to be trying to get ahead in the points early. He's very athletic. I just have to go out there and try to get ahead and play as much as I can on my terms.”

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