Tsonga, Murrat through to Hamburg Masters second round

May 13th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, May 13 (DPA) Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made history for himself and Andy Murray shook off the ghosts of the past as both seeds posted first-round wins at the Hamburg Masters Monday. Tsonga, seeded 14th, got his first career victory on clay at the top Association of Tennis Professional (ATP) events when he rallied to beat compatriot Nicolas Mahut 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in one hour 54 minutes.

The 15 seeded Murray returned to the site, where he badly injured his wrist last year, in style ousting Russian Dmitry Tursunov, 6-4, 6-1 in the opening round.

The highest seed in action Monday, number 10 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, crashed out against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, 6-3, 6-2. It was the third straight first-round loss for Youzhny in Hamburg.

The 12th-seed Juan Monaco led 6-1, 4-0 when his opponent Filippo Volandri of Italy quit with a knee injury. Nicolas Kiefer delighted the German home crowd with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 16th seed Paul-Henri Mathieu of France.

Tsonga, the surprise Australian Open finalist in January, had just returned from a knee injury last week in Rome where he lost to compatriot Gilles Simon in the first round.

He seemed doomed to defeat against Mahut as well, earning just 11 points to Mahut’s 28 in the lopsided first set. But he then raised his performance and won the last five games from 2-1 down in the final set.

“I was a little lost at the beginning. I didn’t even know what to do with the ball,” he said.

Now that he has won for the first time on clay, he said: “I think I can play on this surface. I need to play more matches and gain more confidence.”

Clay is not Murray’s favourite surface as well, but he was solid against Tursunov, who is yet to register a win in Hamburg after his third appearance.

“Overall it was a very good match,” said Murray, adding that he was not thinking of his wrist injury.

“It was an unfortunate injury. But it was the last thing on my mind today,” he said.

The eight top seeds led by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the freshly crowned Rome Masters champion Novak Djokovic got a first-round bye in the event which is the last Masters ahead of the French Open Grand Slam.

Federer said Monday that he was happy to be back in Hamburg where he has four titles including a big win over Nadal in the 2007 decider.

“I have special memories…I am fit and hoping for good results,” he told reporters.

“I don’t feel more vulnerable and haven’t played that bad this year,” said Federer, who has just one 2008 title from the small clay event in Estoril, Portugal, after suffering from mononucleosis earlier in the year.

Nadal lost his first match in Rome against Juan Carlos Ferrero, partly because of a right foot blister problem. But now he hopes to do better in Hamburg, saying: “The blister is better for sure, but not perfect.”

Djokovic said he hoped to build on his Rome success, in Hamburg, and at the French Open and beyond.

“I am playing the tennis of my life. I feel ready for the upcoming challenges,” he said.

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