• Dolgopolov finishes off Tsonga in Miami third round

    3/29/11 8:29 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Dolgopolov finishes off Tsonga in Miami third round Alexandr Dolgopolov wins a rain-delayed thriller against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Tuesday in Miami. Dolgopolov will face Rafael Nadal later in the day.

    Alexandr Dolgopolov needed two hours and 31 minutes across two days to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-5 in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Dolgopolov finished off the win on Tuesday afternoon and booked a fourth-round meeting with Rafael Nadal.

    A tight, rain-interrupted first set saw both players hold en route to a 4-4 tie in the first set. With Tsonga serving at ad-out, a torrential downpour drenched Crandon Park Tennis Center. The Frenchman had the unenviable task of coming back to serve right away down break point, and a forehand error immediately put him in a 4-5 hole. Just as fast as he had seized the lead, though, Dolgopolov got broken at love due to a dismal service game and a tiebreaker was necessary two games later.

    Tsonga took control of the 'breaker with consecutive mini-breaks at 3-2 and 4-2, both courtesy of Dolgopolov errors. The world No. 16 earned a set point with his third ace and converted it by tracking down what appeared to be a clean winner by his opponent before using a perfect slice backhand to force Dolgopolov into an error.

    The match seemed to be completely in hand for Tsonga when he struck for a break at 2-2 in the second. However, Miami's 14th seed gave it right back by butchering an easy forehand volley and in the next game he squandered three break-point opportunities all with unforced errors. Tsonga had a hard time recovering, and following an ace on set point at 15-40, Dolgopolov capitalized on his second chance by running his opponent ragged and finishing with a forehand volley winner.

    After five service holds opened the third set, rain again poured down and this time it canceled play on Monday night. The players came back out on Tuesday afternoon and wasted little time in producing more drama. Dolgopolov battled out of a 0-40 hold at 4-4 and saved a total of four break points before holding. Tsonga then survived a deuce game of his own and successfully served to stay in the match for a 5-5 tie. Dolgopolov, though, held easily for 6-5 and converted his second match point with his opponent serving at 30-40 when Tsonga netted a forehand.

    The 22-year-old Ukrainian wrapped up his effort with four aces and five double-faults while saving eight of 10 break points. He withstood 13 aces off the Tsonga racket.

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