Thiem, Tsonga Battle Into Third Round
Thiem improved to 12-3 in tie-breaks this year, surviving a close encounter against qualifier Jozef Kovalik 7-6(4), 7-6(3) in the second round in Indian Wells. The 11th seed fired 34 winners, including 10 aces, while claiming 84 per cent of first serve points. He prevailed after one hour and 47 minutes despite converting just one of 11 break chances. Making his third appearance in the Southern California desert, Thiem notched a tour-leading 21st match win of the year. He will face home hope Jack Sock, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Michael Berrer.
Kovalik earned his first ATP World Tour match win on Friday, defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert, having emerged from qualifying at a Masters 1000 event for the first time.
In other action, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame a slow start to dismiss countryman Vincent Millot 7-5, 6-1. Tsonga saw his streak of seven consecutive appearances in Indian Wells snapped due to injury last year, but the 30 year old is back in the desert. He fell behind an early break at 3-1, but the seventh seed would reel off 12 of the next 15 games to close out the victory in just 70 minutes.
Millot was victimised by 22 unforced errors, while his fellow Frenchman converted four of seven break opportunities and won nine of 10 net points. Tsonga dominated points under five shots, claiming 41 of 69. He will square off against Sam Querrey next, after the California native ousted Thiemo de Bakker 7-6(5), 6-4. They have met four times, with Tsonga owning a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge. He prevailed in their most recent clash, on the clay of Rome last year.