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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gets better of Rafael Nadal

Tsonga advances to the semifinals of ATP World Tour Finals by eliminating the Spaniard in three sets.

November 24, 2011|Wire reports
  • Jo-Wilfred Tsonga returns a shot during his victory over Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals in London on Thursday.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga returns a shot during his victory over Rafael Nadal at… (Dylan Martinez / Reuters )

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga qualified for the semifinals in the ATP World Tour Finals at the expense of Rafael Nadal, beating the second-ranked Spaniard, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3, on Thursday in a decisive round-robin match at London.

Tsonga improved to 2-1 in group play and Nadal fell to 1-2, meaning the sixth-seeded Frenchman will join Roger Federer in the last four from Group B. It is the first time Tsonga has reached the semifinals at the season-ending tournament for the world's top eight players, and Nadal missed out for the second time in five appearances.

Federer beat Mardy Fish, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, earlier and finished the group stage 3-0. David Ferrer also has qualified for the semifinals from Group A, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych in contention for the last spot going into the final group matches Friday.

In perhaps the hardest-fought match of the tournament so far, Tsonga broke twice in the third set for a 5-2 lead. But he faltered in the next game, double-faulting three times and giving Nadal renewed hope, only to bounce back and break the Spaniard at love. Tsonga secured the victory with a hard forehand winner.

Nadal was coming off his worst defeat ever against Federer, losing 6-3, 6-0, to his Swiss rival Tuesday, and said after that match that a shoulder problem nearly caused him to pull out earlier in the week.

The Spaniard looked to have regained his fighting spirit against Tsonga, however, although it was the Frenchman who looked slightly stronger at the start.

Federer had already clinched a spot in the semifinals before playing Fish, and Fish was eliminated after losing his first two matches.

Federer improved his unbeaten streak to 15 consecutive matches after winning titles in Basel, Switzerland, and Paris.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner is the defending champion in London and is looking for a record sixth title at the season-ending event and his 70th overall.

Federer's win Thursday was his 37th victory overall at the ATP finals — previously known as the Masters Cup — surpassing Boris Becker and putting him two short of Ivan Lendl's record.

GOLF

Australian pair takes the lead

Australia's Richard Green and Brendon Jones shot an 11-under-par 61 in better-ball play, taking a two-stroke lead in the World Cup at Haikou, China.

Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, the last two U.S. Open winners, were second along with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird. McIlroy and McDowell are from Northern Ireland.

Americans Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar were another stroke back along with the Netherlands' Robert-Jan Derksen and Joost Luiten.

The 28 teams will play alternate-shot rounds Friday and Sunday and another better-ball round Saturday on Mission Hill's Blackstone Course.

Australia's Steven Bowditch and South Korea's Choi Joon-woo shot six-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the Australian PGA at Coolum.

American Bubba Watson was a stroke back along with Australians Aaron Baddeley, Andre Stolz and Aaron Townsend. British Open champion Darren Clarke and Rickie Fowler were in a group at 69.

Scotland's Steven O'Hara and local favorite Jbe Kruger shot seven-under 65s and were atop the leaderboard after the first round of the South African Open at Johannesburg.

Two-time champion Retief Goosen was a stroke back along with fellow South Africans Tyrone Mordt, David Hewan and Merrick Bremner. Defending champion Ernie Els opened with a 69 at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate.

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