• Tsonga battles Troicki for Roland Garros quarterfinals

    6/1/13 11:49 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Tsonga battles Troicki for Roland Garros quarterfinals Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a Sunday win away from making a return trip to the French Open quarterfinals. Standing in Tsonga's way is unseeded Viktor Troicki.

    Viktor Troicki has put his sport on SportsCenter more frequently than all other players combined during the clay-court swing. Of course, it has not been for his tennis. Rather, a monumental meltdown over a controversial call at the Rome Masters has garnered Troicki unprecedented fame.

    Suddenly at the French Open, however, the once-slumping Serb is making noise with his racket. Troicki, who had a 12-14 record in 2013 prior to this fortnight and is down at No. 57 in the world, finds himself in the second week of a Grand Slam for just the third time in his career. He has taken out James Blake, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, and Marin Cilic--two in straight sets and Gimeno-Traver in five.

    Up next for Troicki on Sunday is a seventh career meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The head-to-head series stands at 3-3, but Tsonga has dominated both of their previous clay-court clashes; 6-2, 6-3 at the 2010 Rome Masters and 6-3, 6-2 last spring in Rome. They also faced each other earlier this season on the hard courts of Miami, where Tsonga prevailed 7-6(6), 6-3.

    The eighth-ranked Frenchman was a 2012 Roland Garros quarterfinalist and is looking good--to say the least--in his effort on making no less than a repeat performance. Tsonga has not dropped a set in victories over Aljaz Bedene, Jarkko Nieminen, and countryman Jeremy Chardy. The No. 6 seed is 24-8 for the year, which includes a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open, a title in Marseille, and a recent semifinal performance in Monte-Carlo.

    Troicki has capitalized on a favorable draw, as Blake rarely plays matches on clay and Cilic is woefully out of form. This is where the underdog's luck runs outs. With Tsonga on top of his game, this should not go past three sets.

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