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Djokovic digs deep to defeat Tsonga

ESPN staff
November 5, 2012 « Fit-again Terry Etim 'back with a bang' in 2013 | Chartbeat test »
Tsonga dismay at Djokovic defeat

Novak Djokovic will go head-to-head with Andy Murray on Wednesday after he kicked off his ATP World Tour Finals campaign with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in London.

The world No. 1 was not at his best but did enough to secure a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory at the O2 Arena.

Tsonga had been the better player for much of the opening set, but was unable to convert his chances as the Serb triumphed in a tiebreak before an early break in the second put him firmly on course for victory.

Djokovic, who leapfrogged Roger Federer to top the world rankings on Monday, was forced to fend off a break point in his opening service game as Tsonga played the Serb at his own game, hitting crisp groundstrokes and waiting for his time to pounce.

A stunning cross-court forehand from the seventh seed once again put pressure on Djokovic, but he dug himself out of a hole once again to keep his nose in front.

An unlucky net cord saw him forced to stave off a second break point, and as Tsonga became increasingly confident on serve, it looked like Djokovic would be the first to crack.

But a third break point passed Tsonga by, and he was left to rue his inability to kill off points as Djokovic showed nerves of steel to take the tiebreak as the errors began to creep into Tsonga's game.

Losing the tiebreak appeared to dent Tsonga's resistance, and Djokovic seized the initiative to grab an early break. Although the world No. 8 recovered, he struggled to find a way past his opponent's increasingly concrete serve, and he buckled once again serving for the match as the top seed cruised over the line.

Djokovic will pit his unbeaten record against Murray on Wednesday after the world No. 3 rallied from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych earlier on Monday.

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