• Tsonga, Gasquet set for all-French showdown

    1/20/13 7:25 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Tsonga, Gasquet set for all-French showdown There will be at least one Frenchman in the Australian Open quarterfinals, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is battling Richard Gasquet on Monday. The winner could meet Roger Federer in the last eight.

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers and for the first time since 2009 when they clash in round four of the Australian Open on Monday.

    Gasquet leads the head-to-head series 4-3, but it is tied up at one win apiece on hard courts. Their most recent encounter came more than three years ago on the indoor hard courts of Tokyo, where Tsonga prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. That victory avenged two previous 2009 losses to Gasquet.

    Both Frenchman appear to be in fine form at the beginning of this season. Gasquet is a perfect 8-0, having kicked off his campaign with a title in Doha (beat Nikolay Davydenko in the final). The world No. 12 has taken out Albert Montanes, Alejandro Falla, and Ivan Dodig so far in Melbourne--losing only one set to Dodig in the process.

    Tsonga did not play any ATP warmups, instead opting for some exhibition matches at the Kooyong Classic. The No. 7 seed put in well-documented hard work during the offseason and it seems to be paying off. Tsonga opened this fortnight with a routine win over yet another Frenchman--Michael Llodra--before taking care of Go Soeda and Blaz Kavcic in straight sets.

    This one may come down entirely to which man can get ahead in rallies and dictate play. Gasquet is going to win a vast majority of backhand-to-backhand exchanges, while Tsonga is always going to have more success off the forehand side. If Tsonga puts in a high percentage of serves, he should be able to gain an upper hand more often than not due to his superior firepower.

    Furthermore, Gasquet has been to a Grand Slam quarterfinal only once (he reached the Wimbledon semis in 2007). Tsonga is a seven-time major quarterfinalist and he finished runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open.

    Look for the world No. 8 to advance after four entertaining sets.

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I want Gasquet to win but I guess Tsonga will win in 4 sets

tennis2011 , 1/20/13 5:49 PM

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