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By Alberto Amalfi | Thursday, September 21, 2017

 
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the St. Petersburg Open quarterfinals.

Photo credit: St. Petersburg Open

The first time Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ever visited Russia, he won a Challenger title.

The second-seeded Tsonga made a winning Russian return today.

More: Federer's Oh No Reunion

Tsonga broke twice in the decisive set defeating Joao Sousa, 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-2, to advance to the St. Petersburg Open quarterfinals.

Fresh off winning two matches over the weekend to lead France to its 18th Davis Cup final, Tsonga served big when it mattered most.

The 32-year-old Frenchman fired 16 aces and saved two of three break points. Tsonga won 16 of 17 points played on his serve in the final set.


 

Joao Sousa vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga πŸ‘ŠπŸ»πŸŽΎπŸ‘ŠπŸ»πŸŽΎ #itstennistime #formulatx #spbopen

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Tsonga crashed 10 aces and cranked 13 winners—7 more than Sousa—in the 61-minute opener that turned on the Frenchman’s disruptive forehand in the tie break. Tsonga hit a rainbow lob for a 3-1 tie break lead before blasting a pair of forehand winners down opposite sidelines, stretching the tie break lead to 5-3.

In the second set, Sousa scored the first break of the day for 5-3.

Serving to force a third, Sousa fought off a pair of break points—the sixth and seventh break points he’d saved to that point—then punched a forehand volley for set point.

When Tsonga whacked a wild backhand, Sousa had the second set.



Unleashing a punishing forehand crosscourt, Tsonga broke for a 3-1 lead in the decider. Charging forward, he knifed a sharp backhand volley to back up the break for 4-1.

Tsonga broke again to close a two hour, nine-minute triumph. He will play 54th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff for a semifinal spot.

Struff snuffed out 11 of 13 break points subduing Thomas Fabbiano, 6-1, 6-4.

Tsonga has swept all seven sets he’s played vs. Struff, including a tight 7-6, 7-5, victory in their lone prior hard-court clash in the 2014 Marseille semifinals.

Fabio Fognini fought off the last Russian standing, Mikhail Youzhny, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. It was Fognini’s fourth consecutive win over the 35-year-old Moscow resident and it did not come easily.


 

Fabio Fognini vs. Mikhail Youzhny πŸ”₯🎾πŸ”₯🎾 #itstennistime #formulatx #spbopen

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Top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut beat back Rogerio Dutra Silva, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Bautista Agut will play Viktor Troicki for a place in the final four. Troicki drilled nine aces in a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 triumph over Guido Pella.

The 13th-ranked Bautista Agut has won all three prior meetings with Troicki. Bautista Agut, who won hard-court titles in Chennai and Winston-Salem earlier this season, is playing for his sixth semifinal of the season. 


 

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