SOIREE
du Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 19h00 au Tuesday 29 Octobre 2019 at 20h30
ROLEX PARIS MASTERS From October 31th to November 8th, 2020
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came agonisingly close to setting up a dream rematch with Roger Federer at the Rolex Paris Masters but ultimately it was Milos Raonic who held his nerve in a titanic power-serving tussle with the French home favourite on Tuesday to earn a date with the great Swiss.

In an engrossing match where, almost inevitably, huge deliveries dominated, it took three tie-breaks to settle a first-round tie that lasted just eight minutes under three hours, Raonic eventually prevailing 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 7-6(5).
Yet though the crowd in the AccorHotels Arena were desperate to see big-hearted Tsonga emerge triumphant after he had shown considerable courage to earlier save two match points at 5-4 down in the deciding set, the Canadian just would not be denied.

Familiar pace and power

The crowd had been hoping beyond hope that Tsonga, on the comeback trail after knee surgery, could hold out to earn only his second win in eight months and set up a reprise of the second round of the 2011 final which Federer won.
Yet Raonic, recovering from a poor recent run of four straight defeats but with more matches under his belt than Tsonga, proved just too solid when push came to shove in the final set, sealing the decisive tie-breaker 7-5.

Serving with familiar pace and power, both men, who crashed down 40 aces between them, proved unbreakable all evening and if it hadn’t been for the tie-break in the last set, it would have been easy to imagine that the match might have ended up like their 2012 Olympic epic which saw Tsonga prevail 25-23 in the third.

Yet Raonic’s delivery - one was timed at a brutal 234km per hour - was such a thing of wonder here that if he can operate at a similar destructive level against Federer on Wednesday, there’s no reason why he couldn’t reprise the quarter-final victory he enjoyed over the Swiss here en route to the 2014 RPM final.

A tale of three tie-breaks

But it was hard work for the Canadian, who has had his own struggles with knee injuries this season. He soon found that Tsonga’s level of play was inspiringly good for someone who is trying to claw his way back from No.256 in the world and has only won one game since his return to the fray following his knee surgery in April.

In a tale of three tie-breaks, the Frenchman pinched the first even though he had found it much harder work to keep holding on to his serve than Raonic had.

In the second, Tsonga couldn’t quite recover from a first point double fault even though, at 6-1 down, he rallied and came close by saving four set points while Raonic got a little tight.

In the third set breaker, a couple of errant forehands finally sealed Tsonga’s fate but despite his evident weariness, he had played with such commendable fire, spirit and quality that his performance must have made heartening viewing for France’s Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah.

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Groupe 2