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Road to Rogers Cup: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fights his way back

Feb 12, 2019
written by: Caroline Angers
written by: Caroline Angers

Welcome to Road to Rogers Cup, the weekly roundup of all the action on the ATP Tour ahead of the 2019 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at IGA Stadium from August 2 to 11.

Today, we’re reporting on the recent ATP 250 events.

joie de Jo Wilfried Tsonga (Fra)

Recap of last week: Tsonga wins his first title since 2017


About this time last year, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was World No. 19. Last week, going into the tournament in Montpellier, he sat at No. 210. How did he get himself into such a tailspin? Left knee surgery in April followed by a seven-month hiatus. Still, on February 10, he hoisted his 17th career title in his home country.

On the brink of losing to fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the first round, Tsonga battled with courage and determination to find his way to the final and take the top honours for the first time since 2017: “I am very happy with the way I played this week,” said Tsonga. “I have made many efforts to come back, so, for me, it is a good reward, and I hope I will be able to continue playing at this level.”

Tsonga, now World No. 140, hopes to keep the momentum going and be seeded at Roland-Garros in May.

Daniil Medvedev, who just celebrated his 23rd birthday, earned his very first title of the season—the fourth of his career—in Sofia, Bulgaria. Seeded third, he dropped only one set as he breezed through the rounds. He defeated Gaël Monfils of France in the semis and ousted Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in the final showdown.

I was feeling under pressure and really nervous, so I’m really happy that I managed to win the title,” said Medvedev afterwards.

In Cordoba, Argentina, homegrown hero Juan Ignacio Londero thrilled fans. With a record of zero wins on the Tour, the World No. 112 truly made the most of the wildcard he was granted by tournament officials. He overpowered No. 41 Nicolas Jarry and four fellow Argentinians to take home his very first ATP title.

You have to understand that I came to try to play this tournament to see if I could win a round and that way I could be closer to defending the 130 points I had. I knew I had minimal chance of entering the main draw at Roland-Garros, but now I’m in. Now the new ATP ranking will appear, and I cannot explain it. I will look at it several times to believe it,” said the new No. 69.

For the record

  • Tomas Berdych gaining ground. After bringing his season to an early end this past June due to a back injury, the Czech got back to business in January and set his sights on a spot in the Top 20. With a semifinal appearance in Montpellier, he rose 20 places to No. 59. Berdych has always been a fierce opponent, and it will be interesting to follow his progress over the next few weeks.
  • Pierre-Hugues Herbert on the hunt for his first singles title. More widely known for his prowess in doubles—currently ranked World No. 4 with 15 career titles, including one from each Grand Slam—Herbert is out to make a name for himself in singles. Last weekend, he came close to winning his first title but fell to Tsonga in the final of the Open Sud de France.

Photo: Open Sud de France, Montpellier

This week: Nishikori’s comeback

Kei Nishikori, who was forced to retire in the quarters in Melbourne, is the top seed at the ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam this week.  And keep your eyes on the two ATP 250 events in New York and Buenos Aires.


Canadian contingent

The Canadians are back in action this week after securing Canada’s place in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid this November. In Rotterdam, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov are seeded fourth and tenth, respectively. Peter Polansky will hit the courts in New York, and Félix Auger-Aliassime is set to brawl on clay in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Feature photo: Open Sud de France, Montpellier