Weary Tsonga keeps London hopes alive

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has shaken off jet lag to defeat 37-year-old Tommy Haas 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 to reach the Austria Open second round and keep his World Tour Finals hopes alive.

French star Tsonga only arrived in Vienna on Tuesday night after losing the Shanghai Masters final against Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

He overcame 32 unforced errors, counter-balanced by 41 winners and five breaks of serve, on Wednesday to deny Haas, playing on a 466th ranking after coming back from a third shoulder surgery.

Tsonga, seeded fourth, is in the mix for one of two remaining places in the eight-man field at the World Tour Finals in London from November 15.

He stands provisional ninth, with Vienna top seed David Ferrer holding eighth behind Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Haas said that he is already looking ahead to 2016 when he will be playing for at least the first half of the season with a protected ranking due to his injury comeback.

But his defeat by Tsonga still stung.

“How can you be happy when you lose? It’s never a good feeling. But I’m pleased that I’m still playing good tennis. I have a lot of work to do though,” the former world No.2 said.

Unpredictable Latvian Ernests Gulbis out-aced John Isner 23 to 16 in a 6-4 4-6 6-4 knockout of the American third seed to reach the quarter-finals.

The defeat meant that Isner’s already slim chances of qualifying for the eight-man field in London took a major hit as the provisional 12th-placed candidate was beaten.

Gulbis went up an early break in the final set and held the edge until the end.

In a first-round match, Italy’s eighth seed Fabio Fognini defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the pair’s first meeting since 2009.

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