Tsonga Beats Nadal, Secures ATP Finals SF; Can Djokovic Join Him?
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga finished off Rafael Nadal’s ATP World Tour Finals hope defeating the former world No. 1 today 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3.
The win eliminates Nadal from the competition and puts Tsonga in his first World Tour Finals semi.
“Tonight I just played well, amazing tennis,” said Tsonga. “I don’t know if Rafa played really well. But, anyway, he fought to come back. This is what champions do every time. I was really aggressive. I had a good percentage of winners. I put a lot of pressure on him today.”
Despite all his titles, Nadal still has yet to win the year-end championship event. Last year he lost in the finals to Roger Federer. This year, he went 1-2 beating only newcomer Mardy Fish in a third set tiebreak on Sunday.
“I think I didn’t play well tonight,” said Nadal. “The first two sets I didn’t play bad, but I didn’t play well, and to win these kind of matches you have to play well. I played without anything special tonight. If the two first sets weren’t good, the third was a disaster. That’s the truth. He’s a dangerous player. For sure it is not easy to play against him, big serve, aggressive player. To play against these kind of players, you have to do something else more, and I didn’t.”
After losing four of his last six ATP matches of the season, Nadal will have to regroup for the upcoming Davis Cup final against Argentina next month, and also look ahead to 2012.
“This end of the year wasn’t easy for me,” said Nadal who’s last title came at the French Open. “That’s hard to accept. But at the same time that’s given me a little bit more illusion and little bit more of a goal for the beginning of 2012. This year was a tough year for me. I think it was a positive one for moments, but at the same time it was hard for moments. [I have to] accept what happened during all the season and I need time to think.
I know only one way to change the situation, [and that] is to work more, think more about tennis, do everything in the right shape, do everything good inside the court, and everything good outside the court,” he added. “And that’s what I am going to try to do for the next month and for the next 12 months of 2012. That’s what I can say. That’s what I can do.”
Tomorrow, the last semifinal berth will be decided between Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic.
The sputtering Djokovic will play countryman and sub Janko Tipsaravic. If Djokovic loses then Berdych qualifies for the semifinal. If both Djokovic and Berdych win the edge will go to the player with the fewest sets lost on the day.
“There is still a chance,” Djokovic said Wednesday after his stunning loss to Ferrer. “But if I don’t play at least 50% better than I did tonight, I don’t think I’ll have any chance. You always hope that [Friday] will bring something better. That’s the way I’m thinking now.”
Berdych will play Group A leader David Ferrer. The Spaniard, who has already secured his semifinal berth, will clinch the group win and play Tsonga on Saturday unless he loses to Berdych and Tipsarevic upsets Djokovic.
In his semifinal defending London champion and Group B winner Federer will await the No. 2 from Group A, either Berdych, Djokovic or Ferrer.
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