Tsonga blows London chance
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will miss next week's ATP World Tour Finals after being dumped out of the BNP Paribas Masters in the second round in Paris on Tuesday.
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The 2008 winner came into his match against Japanese opponent Kei Nishikori as an overwhelming favourite but ended up on the wrong end of a 1-6 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (9/7) scoreline, one which means he fails to qualify for the season-ending finale in London.
Tsonga was in complete control in the first set and sent down six aces as he raced ahead but Nishikori upped his first service to 64 per cent as he evened things up in the second.
Tsonga was by now struggling with a thigh problem but managed to hold serve throughout the deciding set and another tie-break ensued.
In it, Tsonga grabbed a vital mini-break to lead 6-5 but then double-faulted to allow his opponent back in. A second match point was saved by a second-serve ace by Nishikori, who followed that up with another ace to give himself a match point.
Incredibly, Tsonga again double-faulted to end his own season earlier than he would have liked.
While not yet certain, it now looks like Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet will claim the remaining three places in the eight-man World Tour Finals field.
Gasquet had earlier boosted his chances by claiming a tight win over Fernando Verdasco.
A single break of serve was enough to hand Gasquet the first set but his Spanish opponent fought back to take the second set on a tie break.
Gasquet was not to be denied, though, and Verdasco was broken twice in the third as the world number 10 won 7-5 6-7 (6/8) 6-3.
In the late match, second seed Novak Djokovic beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert, but before the French qualifier had put on something of a show.
Herbert put up a real fight in the first set and actually forced two set points. He could take neither though and despite fighting back from 5-0 down in the second, the young wild card succumbed to a 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 defeat.
Earlier, Nicolas Mahut advanced to the second round thanks to a 7-6 (8/6) 6-1 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov but it was an otherwise poor day for the unseeded home competitors.
Michael Llodra took the first set against Grigor Dimitrov but could not seal the win as the world number 22 emerged a 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 6-3 winner.
Edouard Roger-Vasselin was also beaten by a higher-ranked opponent as he went down 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 to Ivan Dodig.
In other matches, lucky loser Pablo Andujar upset Vasek Pospisil 6-4 2-6 6-4, Michal Przysiezny saw off Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 7-6 (8/6) and Marcel Granollers was a 6-4 6-4 victor over Dmitry Tursunov. Granollers now faces Rafael Nadal.
Kevin Anderson beat Mikhail Youzhny in an evening clash as the Russian retired with the score at 4-6 7-6 (7/0) 2-1 - the South African now faces Federer - while last year's beaten finalist Jerzy Janowicz beat qualifier Santiago Giraldo 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 in the second round.