Tsonga advances at expense of countryman

Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 7-6(7), 7-6(4) win over fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

As is so often the case with the top-seeded players, Tsonga got off to a blistering start when he broke Herbert to love in the very first game of the match. The reminder of the opening stanza was a tight affair with both players holding serve. After 33 minutes Tsonga claimed it 6-4.

The encounter’s pivotal moment came after Herbert had earned himself a set point at 5-4 in the second. Dominating the point, Herbert drew Tsonga into the net before lobbing his exuberant opponent. Not only did Tsonga get to the ball, he managed to hit a crisp, one-handed backhand winner. The ninth seed was able to save serve thereafter and then go 2-0 up as he won the breaker 9-7.

Both players exchanged service games early in the third set before heading into the second breaker of the game, which Tsonga claimed rather comfortably as he progressed to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the seventh time in his career.

He will now meet Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori on Sunday.

Elsewhere, David Goffin’s classy demonstration of consistency and composure provided him with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 victory over 19th seed Dominic Thiem.

The talented Belgian next squares up with Roger Federer.

Friday also marked the end of Federico Delbonis and Marin Cilic’s tournaments as they lost to Gilles Simon and Roberto Bautista-Agut respectively.

Simon was in imperious form as he overpowered Delbonis in straight sets, only dropping six games in the entire match.

While Bautista-Agut was made to work slightly harder but also advanced in three stanzas against Cilic.

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