World No.10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says his next match will be quite a show after beating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber to move into the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Second seed Tsonga sealed a comprehensive 6-3 6-4 win on Wednesday night, wrapping up the first set up in just half an hour before winning another break in the first game of the second and storming to victory.
With Tsonga having beaten Kohlschreiber – Auckland champion in 2008 – eight out of nine previous encounters, it was a tall order for the world No.34.
Kohlschreiber couldn’t make anything of two early break points as the Frenchman proved too strong from the baseline – and was given no chances after that.
Greeting reporters with a huge smile afterwards, Tsonga wasn’t short of modesty about his performance.
“I just played good tennis. I’m feeling good. I’m in good shape … I hope I’ll continue to win,” he said.
“But I was pretty aggressive and I didn’t leave him a chance.”
As for his match-up against sixth seed Italian Fabio Fognini on Thursday, Tsonga said it would be one for the fans.
“Fabio is playing better and better every year now … He’s a good entertainer too, so when I play against him it’s always good to watch.”
Asked about the crowd, which had given him a roaring welcome for his first-ever game in Auckland, Tsonga joked:
“It was nice to be here with all these people dining, and having beer and champagne… I was a little bit jealous.”
Earlier, world No.8 David Ferrer began his campaign for his fifth Auckland title with a dominant 6-2 6-4 defeat of Australian qualifier Matthew Barton.
Before the match, Barton, No.299 in the world, joked he would be happy to win a single game against the top seed.
With the same form that carried him through the first round, the Australian managed to hold serve – particularly in the second set – against the four-time Auckland champion but struggled on the receiving end, unable to find a single chance at a break the entire game.
Ferrer said the game – his 27th win in Auckland since his first in 2003 – was a good opening hit-out.
“The court is fast and there is wind, so it was not easy. But I played consistently and without too much mistakes.”
He said he would be looking to push his first serve against the aggressive style of Czech Lukas Rosol, who upset world No.8 and 5th seed Benoit Paire of France 6-4 7-6.
In the day’s other big match, third seed John Isner managed to overcome fellow American Sam Querrey in a two-hour epic ending 7-6 6-7 6-4.
Dominated by two of the biggest serves in tennis, the game featured few returns and brief rallies, ending with a total 52 aces and only one break.
World No.12 Kevin Anderson also moved to the quarter-finals, beating Dutch world No.64 Robin Haase 7-6 7-6.
Anderson, who made the semi-finals in Auckland last year, seemed to struggle with the wind on centre court but quickly took the lead in the first tie-breaker, leading 4-0 before Haase fought back, only to eventually lose 10-8 on a double-fault.
He will now play American Jack Sock, who ousted doubles partner Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-1 6-4.