Preview: Federer, Tsonga Renew Rivalry In Halle
A battle between the No. 3 and No. 77 players in the ATP Rankings might seem like a mismatch on paper, but Roger Federer facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle looks to be anything but that.
The two fan favourites resume their epic FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry on Thursday. Federer leads their series 11-6, but they haven’t met in three years.
Although Tsonga trails in match wins, he has momentum on his side. The Frenchman prevailed in their past two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings and won their lone grass-court battle, rallying from two sets down in the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals. The classic match at SW19 is their only grass-court clash to date.
“He took all the right chances,” reflected Federer after the loss. “He believed in shots that you maybe don’t hit as often. But exactly when he needed them, he was able to pull them off. When it got important for him, he went for it. It all worked out for him today.”
The Swiss has been pushed by Tsonga in recent years. He’s dropped a set to the Frenchman in four of his five most recent victories.
However, Federer’s grass-court credentials are well-documented and he always raises his level on the surface. The nine-time Halle champion has won at least one grass-court title in 13 of the past 16 years. Federer improved his Halle record to 64-7 with a first-round win on Tuesday over Aussie John Millman. A win on Sunday would give the Swiss 10 titles at an event for the first time in his career.
The winner will face Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals.