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Tsonga Makes Winning Return To Vienna; Haas Fights Past Mecir

Vienna, Austria

Tsonga© e|motion/zolles.comJo-Wilfried Tsonga is undefeated in Vienna.

Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his push for a Barclays ATP World Tour Finals berth by making a winning return to the Erste Bank Open. The Frenchman, who currently holds down the final qualifying spot at No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, opened with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win over German Daniel Brands on Thursday.

Tsonga dropped serve twice in the second set, but regrouped to close out the one hour, 33-minute victory. “I said, okay I will concentrate all my energy because he broke me at the beginning of the second set. I will concentrate my energy for the finish,” he explained.

The Frenchman won the ATP World Tour 250 title two years ago on his Vienna debut (d. del Potro). He next faces Austrian wild card Dominic Thiem, who advanced with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Czech lucky loser Jaroslav Pospisil. Thiem had reached his only other tour-level quarter-final this past July in Kitzbuhel.

Former champion Tommy Haas came through a hard-fought clash against Miloslav Mecir, son of 1988 Olympic gold medallist Miloslav Mecir Sr.. Haas defeated the 25-year-old qualifier 7-5, 7-6(8) in one hour and 54 minutes. The 2001 titlist was forced to save two set points at 6-7 and 7-8 in the second set tie-break. Mecir also had three set points in the first set.

“First matches are always tough ones, especially against players you don’t know that well,” said Haas. “Obviously I know his name and his father being a former great player. And of course it’s always tough to play somebody that’s won already four matches. I knew it was going to be a tough battle. I’m happy I was able to play the big points when it came down to it and win the match.”

Mecir Following In The Big Cat’s Footsteps

The 35-year-old Haas is attempting to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. He is currently in 12th position in the Emirates ATP Race To London. He will next play fifth seed Radek Stepanek 

Third seed Fabio Fognini recorded his 40th match win of the season with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Lukasz Kubot. Robin Haase saved 10 of 12 break point opportunities to overcome seventh seed Vasek Pospisil 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-2. Meanwhile, fourth-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber fell to Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(0).

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Poles Bow Out In Quarter-finals
Second seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, who entered the week at No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings, lost to Jaroslav Levinsky and Mate Pavic 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-6 in their quarter-final match. The new pairing of Julian Knowle and Daniel Nestor advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Dutchmen Robin Haase and Jesse Huta Galung.

In first-round action, top seed Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares beat Lukas Dlouhy and Paul Hanley 6-2, 6-3. Peya and Soares have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

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