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Wimbledon: Tsonga in it for long haul after sealing victory in marathon final set

MEN's singles

By Eleanor Crooks

Published 04/07/2016

Happy days: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates his third round win
Happy days: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates his third round win

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga admitted John Isner's marathon history crossed his mind as he battled into extra-time to beat the giant American at Wimbledon.

The pair resumed their third-round match on middle Sunday with Isner two sets to one up but it was Tsonga who came through 6-7 (3/7) 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 19-17 after four hours and 24 minutes.

That was a short fifth set by the standards of Isner's 70-68 against Nicolas Mahut in 2010, with Tsonga gaining some revenge for his fellow Frenchman.

Asked if he had thought about the Mahut match, Tsonga said: "A little bit. Once, I said, 'Maybe it's going to be long like Nicolas'.

"I was waiting for (the break) since a while. It was a good feeling to have this break in my pocket. Then after that, I played pretty good on my serve, and I closed it finally."

Isner, who again called for a tie-break to be introduced in the fifth set, had one match point at 15-16 but Tsonga produced a big serve.

The 6ft 10in American said: "He was serving very well and I knew the match could go a long way, but I wasn't thinking about what happened six years ago.

"I had a chance and he came up with a good serve. I had some chances yesterday, he came up with good serves every time. That's why he's one of the best players in our game."

Tsonga will now have to recover for a fourth-round clash today with countryman Richard Gasquet - one of four Frenchmen in the last 16, the most since 1929. The 12th seed who felt his schedule was made unnecessarily tough, said: "I waited two days to play my second match. Now I have to play three days in a row. That's a little bit unfair, but I'm prepared for it."

Tsonga maintained his record of never having lost a fifth set at Wimbledon while he tied Jean Borotra as the Frenchman with the most victories at grand slams after posting win number 103.

Nick Kyrgios set up a blockbuster clash with Andy Murray by defeating Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-4 on Court One.

The volatile Australian kept his focus during the final two sets on Sunday, but was involved in yet another controversial incident on Saturday evening.

During a rant at his box, Kyrgios was heard to use the word 'retarded'. His countryman Bernard Tomic apologised earlier this week after using the same word in a press conference.

Kyrgios said: "I know some people can obviously get offended by that. I'm not meaning to be rude or disrespectful at all."

Juan Martin Del Potro's comeback slam ended in a third-round loss to Lucas Pouille. The Argentinian had not played at one of the four majors since the Australian Open in 2014, enduring three operations on his left wrist since then.

Del Potro showed form of old to knock out fourth seed Stan Wawrinka in the second round but was beaten 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 6-1 by fast-rising Frenchman Pouille.

Belfast Telegraph

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