RAKUTEN OPEN 2013
Dodig Dashes Tsonga's Hopes; Confident Raonic Ready For London Push
by ATP Staff|
Ivan Dodig recorded his first Top 10 win in seven matches this year against the Emirates ATP Rankings elite on Thursday at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
The Croat reached his sixth ATP World Tour quarter-final (or better) this season after he beat World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(5) in 86 minutes. Matching the second seed with nine aces, Dodig saved all three break points he faced.
Afterwards, Tsonga admitted, “If he plays like that he can be Top 10 for sure.”
Tsonga, who confirmed that his recovery from a left knee injury will take another two months, added, “I have to play matches, if I am to come back to my best. My movement was not perfect and maybe I took a little longer to get into the match, but he played a good match.”
Raonic, who trails eighth-placed Stanislas Wawrinka by 545 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London, recorded his 16th win in his past 20 matches for a place in the second round.
“I know that I have a long way to go,” said Raonic, when asked about his bid to qualify. “I just have to stay focused on my matches, because as long as it doesn’t enter my mind during a match I am fine.”
Three days after lifting his fifth ATP World Tour title at the Thailand Open, third seed Raonic was devastating on serve against wild card Go Soeda in a 6-4, 7-6(0) victory under a closed roof at the Ariake Coliseum.
On the very court where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medal match will be contested, Raonic won 38 of his 40 first service points, hit 24 aces and lost nine points overall for victory in 81 minutes.
“I did a lot of things well,” said last year’s runner-up Raonic. “It was a very early time for me to play, as I played night matches last week. I feel I am a much better player than I was last year, because I have had more experiences.”
Raonic has compiled a 17-5 record since losing in the Wimbledon second round (l. to Sijsling).
Jeremy Chardy won the right to play Raonic on Thursday after he completed a 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(6) win over qualifier Marco Chiudinelli in two hours and 56 minutes. The match was carried over from Tuesday night when Chardy led 7-6(2), 2-4.