Tsonga Serves Up Opening Win At Queen's
2014 champion Dimitrov also advances
In an all-French first-round contest, fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a strong start to his Aegon Championships campaign as he defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-2 on a hot day at The Queen’s Club in London.
Tsonga, who this week returned to the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, was largely untroubled in his first grass-court outing of the season. The right-hander advanced in 66 minutes, converting five of his 13 break points to avenge the defeat he suffered to Mannarino a few weeks ago on the clay in Monte-Carlo.
"For me it was really important to have a victory," said Tsonga, who suffered the disappointment of a first-round loss at Roland Garros in his last tournament. "On clay it was difficult. So it's good to be back and be able to play second round in Queen's. I took some time off, and I practised a lot. I had the good sense to have a grass court at my house, so I just practised and prepare this grass season, which is a good surface for me. Hopefully I will be able to do something good."
The 32-year-old Tsonga is making his sixth appearance at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament. He reached the final in 2011, finishing runner-up to Andy Murray. The Frenchman, also a former Wimbledon semi-finalist (2011-12), is looking for his first grass-court title this week.
Sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov also advanced for the loss of just four games, dismissing Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-1 in 54 minutes. The Bulgarian improved to a 3-1 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series as he lost only eight points on serve and broke Harrison four times.
The 26-year-old Dimitrov rebounded strongly from the opening-round exit he suffered last week in Stuttgart (l. to Janowicz). The right-hander won the title at The Queen’s Club in 2014 (d. Lopez), one of six ATP World Tour titles to his name. He is chasing his third title of the season this week, following victories in Brisbane (d. Nishikori) and Sofia (d. Goffin), which bookended a run to the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Nadal).
“Coming out on the grass courts, I always have high expectations from myself. This match just proved that I have practised, I have done a lot of work on the court. I felt confident, which is very good,” Dimitrov said. “I was just happy to close the match in two sets and didn't have to waste any more energy or anything like that. I'd like to build up from this match and go on with whatever is in front of me now.”
Seventh seed Tomas Berdych dropped only four points on his first serve (34/38) to beat Belgian Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-3. Berdych, who reached the quarter-finals at The Queen's Club in 2013-14, was also perfect on his break points, converting all four.
The 31-year-old Czech will next meet #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who won his first tour-level match of the season, upsetting World No. 47 Kyle Edmund of Great Britain 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes.
The 18-year-old Shapovalov, who qualified to make his Queen's Club debut, hit 12 aces and won 81 per cent of his first-serve points against the 22-year-old Edmund. Shapovalov won the Wimbledon boys' title a year ago.
“Kyle's an unbelievable player. The whole match it was very close, very tight. It was very tough to be out there, but I was enjoying it. I was enjoying the fight. The crowd was unbelievable today. It was just fun to be out there,” Shapovalov said.
Ninth seed Nick Kyrgios retired against Donald Young of the U.S. because of a left hip injury after losing the first set 7-6(3). The Aussie re-aggravated the injury when he fell on the grass at 4-4. Kyrgios grimaced in pain after falling, lying on the turf for a minute after the slip.
“I got the injections a couple weeks ago, and then I was in rehab for a couple of weeks and it settled down, and then on that fall I just felt sharp pain,” Kyrgios said. “So I felt pretty much everything I was feeling a month ago. It's not great at the moment. But we'll see.”