• Tsonga begins Paris campaign against Garcia-Lopez

    11/8/11 5:07 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Tsonga begins Paris campaign against Garcia-Lopez Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eyes his second Paris title this week as he tries to wrap up a spot in the World Tour Finals. He opens on Tuesday against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

    Rafael Nadal is out of the BNP Paribas Open. Novak Djokovic may follow shortly. Both Roger Federer and Andy Murray are on the other side of the draw.

    The result is a big opportunity for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is in fine form and playing at home in France. The world No. 8 is 11-4 since the U.S. Open with titles in Metz and Vienna in addition to a semifinal showing in Beijing. Overall, Tsonga is 49-21 for the season and he is on the brink of locking up a spot in the World Tour Finals.

    Up first for Tsonga in Paris is Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. They have faced each other on four previous occasions and Tsonga leads the head-to-head series 3-1. Tsonga has won all three of their previous hard-court meetings, including most recently with a 7-6(4), 7-6(9) victory to begin this year in Doha.

    Garcia-Lopez is a disappointing 20-28 at the ATP level in 2011 and he finds himself down at No. 64 in the rankings. The Spaniard was a horrendous 2-6 since the U.S. Open heading into Paris, but he opened on Monday with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win over Santiago Giraldo.

    The relatively slow hard courts will help the underdog, but they won't be slow enough. Tsonga has home-court advantage and has every reason to overpower his opponent in two routine sets.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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