SONY OPEN TENNIS
Tsonga Cruises Past Nieminen; Berdych Saves Two Match Points
Sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the round of 16 at the Sony Open Tennis on Monday in Miami, defeating Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-3.
Tsonga broke the Finn three times and won 20 more points in the match to seal the win in 65 minutes. The World No. 8 improved to 4-2 against Nieminen in their head-to-head series.
The Frenchman will square off against ninth seed Marin Cilic on Tuesday. The Croat took out 20th-seeded John Isner 6-3, 7-6(3), withstanding 20 aces from the 6’ 9’’ American.
“It’s never easy to play John. You have to wait for small opportunities and take advantage of them when you have the chance. I think I did really well at that today,” Cilic told SonyOpenTennis.com. “Most of the returns I got on my racquet and put in play, I was able to make him play more and give myself more opportunities to do something from the baseline. I’m feeling pretty good on the court.”
Cilic and Tsonga have split their two previous meetings. Tsonga won their most recent encounter in the first round of the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati two years ago.
“Jo is a big hitter and has a great serve and forehand. It will be a little bit of a different matchup than with John,” said Cilic. “I’m going to have to play more from the back of the court. There will be many more rallies and defending. The key will be who will be steadier on the court and taking advantage of the opportunities.”
Fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych battled past Alejandro Falla 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, saving two match points to edge the Colombian in two hours and 21 minutes. Berdych registered his 20th tour-level win of the season. He reached the Miami final in 2010, finishing runner-up to Andy Roddick.
“My goal through the whole match was to stay as close as possible with him. He was playing really well,” Berdych told SonyOpenTennis.com. “We got to the point where he had match point on my serve. I tried to stay positive and focus on myself. Until the last point is over, the match is still going. This was something I kept in my mind, to keep fighting. It showed that it was a good decision. I was able to turn it around and finish it off in a very tough third set.”
In the fourth round, Berdych will play Sam Querrey. The top-ranked American advanced when Milos Raonic withdrew prior to their third-round meeting with an illness.
“I had a fever before my first round going into the match and it just got really bad over the last two nights,” Raonic said. “I just feel completely drained. I was able to get rid of most of the fever, but I’m still low [on reserves].”
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