World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga opened his US Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(2) victory over Slovakian Karol Beck on Tuesday in New York. The Frenchman hit 41 winners, to 25 from Beck, and broke serve five times from 12 opportunities to claim the win in two hours and eight minutes.
“I think I played good tennis the first two sets, and after that I lost a bit of concentration at the beginning of the third set,” admitted Tsonga. “Then I came back and I did some effort to come back. It was not easy today because the weather was hot. I’m happy to go through this round really quickly.”
The 27-year-old Tsonga is coming off a semi-final showing at the Winston-Salem Open (l. to Isner) and improved to a 41-16 match record on the season. The right-hander has posted strong Grand Slam performances in 2012, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon (l. to Murray) and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic). The 2008 Australian Open runner-up achieved his best result at Flushing Meadows last year when he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Federer).
“I play tennis to win big tournaments like this,” said Tsonga. “I mean, since I was a kid I’ve dreamt about it. This is what gives me motivation. It’s to win something like this. I never give up, and I will work until I cannot work anymore.”
Former champion Andy Roddick was largely untroubled in his opener. The American, who lifted the US Open trophy in 2003 (d. Ferrero), cruised past American qualifierRhyne Williams 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours. Roddick, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Thursday, fired 20 aces and 37 winners.
Former World No. 1 Roddick, who has dropped to No. 22 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, has had mixed results over the summer. He won the title at the BB&T Atlanta Open (d. Muller), but failed to win back-to-back matches in his past three events. He improved to a 21-15 match record on the season.
“There is no ‘acceptable result’,” said Roddick. “You play your second round, try to win your second round. You go as far as you want. Or as far as you can. I don’t think we think of it in the context of what’s acceptable and what’s not. You play a match to try and win a match.”
Roddick was joined in the second round by countryman and No. 27 seed Sam Querrey, who rallied from a set down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in just over three hours. The American struck 21 aces and hit 50 winners as he notched his 28th win of the season.
“Lu is a tough player,” said Querrey. “Hits the ball low and flat. It’s tough for me because I’m a taller guy, I like it up a little higher. I didn’t play my best out there, but I just stuck with it so I’m happy to move on.”