Fine Swine: ATP Vienna R2 Preview – Tsonga vs. Rosol

Tsonga Struggled To Open In Vienna

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga seeks to keep his perfect record intact against Lukas Rosol as they meet for the fourth time. The Frenchman won their latest meeting which came in Madrid earlier this year 7-5, 6-3.

(4) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Lukas Rosol
The fourth seed was one of the last players to get their first round matches on Wednesday. Tsonga reportedly only arrived in Vienna on Tuesday after playing the Shanghai Masters final last Sunday. It looked as if he could use it as he struggled some in a 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 win over Tommy Haas. Tsonga’s first serve was still very efficient, but he struggled to consistently get it into play at just 54 percent. His ground game was also sloppy with 31 unforced errors to go with 42 winners. The only plus for Tsonga was that the match was under two hours despite it having to go the distance.

Rosol looked solid in defeating qualifier Yuichi Sugita to open 6-4, 7-6. Rosol won 33 of his 38 first serve points and tallied ten aces. He was able to break Sugita twice in the match, while being broken just once himself. The win was the Czech’s first on an indoor hard court since the first round in Vienna last year. He had lost seven straight matches on the surface. Vienna has been good to him at times though Rosol made the semis here in 2013, losing to eventual champion Tommy Haas.

The three previous meetings between these two have been very straight forward. They met twice on clay, once this year in Madrid and in France last September in Davis Cup play. Tsonga won in straight sets on both occasions. Their lone meeting on a hard surface came in Dubai in 2012 where the Frenchman also won in straights 6-3, 6-4. So to date, he is 7-0 in sets vs. the Czech.

The surface normally should favor Tsonga, but the fourth seed looks like he may be fighting fatigue from the late turnaround from Shanghai to Vienna. That will give Rosol a legitimate shot to cause an upset today. The Czech will need to bring that same thunderous first serve that he had in round one to have his best shot. For Tsonga, he will need to eliminate some of the unforced errors that may have been attributed to a lack of prep time due to his late arrival. Or that could be a product of mental and physical fatigue which would again play into Rosol’s hands.

It is always difficult to predict how a player will acclimate to a new tournament off a short turnaround from a long week. Tsonga did not look too comfortable on Wednesday, but often rest and some practice on the courts can help with that. In this spot though, there could be reason to think Tsonga wouldn’t mind a short stay in Vienna. As a 250, there are few points for him to gain in a last ditch effort to catch David Ferrer for the 8th and final spot in the ATP Tour Finals. Rest could suit him better for a final push at the Paris Masters.

Tsonga won’t roll over, but fatigue may have more to say than he does. Rosol is capable of pulling out a win if he can keep his serve consistent all match and keep his tactics aggressive off the ground. Even though longer points might tire out Tsonga even more, that’s not the strength of Rosol’s game. Tsonga should put forth a fighting chance, but this one smells like a potential upset.

Rosol wins in three sets


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