Jo-Wilfried Tsonga claims crucial win


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The Independent Online

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga boosted his chances of reaching the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 victory over Mardy Fish this afternoon.

Both players went into the clash looking for their first win at the O2 Arena after narrow defeats in their opening matches against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal respectively.

Tsonga gained the upper hand early in the contest as three successive games went against serve, but when it came to cement his advantage and clinch the first set he came unstuck.

A brilliant lob from Fish set up his chance to break back, which he took when the Frenchman drilled a backhand long.

Having done so well to get back in the set, though, Fish could not complete the turnaround in the tie-break, Tsonga taking an early lead and this time holding on to it.

Fish, whose preparations for his O2 debut were hampered by a hamstring injury, looked frustrated but he was given a dream start to the second set courtesy of an abject service game by Tsonga.

Again there was an immediate break back, though, and from there the world number six quickly pulled away, hitting some thumping winners on his way to six straight games.

The result means victory for Federer against great rival Nadal in the second Group B match tonight would send Federer through to the semi-finals and set up a straight shoot-out between Nadal and Tsonga on Thursday for the second spot.