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Tsonga sent packing after U.S. Open defeat.

Summary: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's U.S. Open run came to a screeching halt Thursday, as he was knocked out quite comfortably by Slovakian Martin Klizan 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's U.S. Open run came to a screeching halt Thursday, as he was knocked out quite comfortably by Slovakian Martin Klizan 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3.

Tsonga was hoping to end the season on a high at the last grand slam of the year. But Klizan was in inspired form, dominating his opponent with crunching forehands and supreme serving, leaving Tsonga without an answer to the surging 23-year-old.

Tsonga's erratic yet enticing play has garnered him innumerable admirers over the years, yet his failure to knuckle down and sustain a level of consistency has so far prohibited the Frenchman from winning a grand slam title.

An Australian Open final appearance and a pair Wimbledon semis is an admirable feat in an era utterly monopolized by three players, but the overriding belief among tennis's most avid sycophants is that Frenchman is capable of much more.

Tsonga's painfully overdrawn odyssey hit a snag in the second round, with a woeful start against his 52-seeded Slovakian opponent.

The laconic Frenchman presented Klizan with the early advantage, after surrendering his opening service game without a whimper.

Klizan proceeded to race to a 3-1 lead, with the first set seemingly out of Tsonga's reach.

A reply though was forthcoming, at least momentarily, when Tsonga broke back to move on par with his opponent. Klizan wrestled back the momentum, as he broke Tsonga to move within a game of the set.

And the Slovakian didn't blink, consolidating his break with a hold and clinching the first set 6-4.

If the first set favored the Slovakian, the second was a polar opposite, with Tsonga coming out like a man possessed.

The enigmatic Tsonga battered his opponent with a myriad of venomous groundstrokes, and in what seemed like an instant, raced to a 4-0 lead with two breaks in hand.

Tsonga was finally getting to grips with the Slovakian's powerful serve, as he cruised to a 6-1 second set win.

But if you wished to decipher the labyrinth that is Tsonga, you might want to confer with Cris Johnson, Nicholas Cage's psychic character in the groundbreaking film Next.

Proving his own worst enemy at times, Tsonga once again regressed into his patented stupor, as the match took yet another twist.

Klizan held serve to open the third set, and with Tsonga visibly out of sorts, pounced to break the Frenchman's service.

The fifth seed was now staring defeat in the face, with his emotions appearing set to boil over. And after Klizan broke once again to move to 5-0, Tsonga's suppressed rage came to the fore, as he slammed his racket onto the famous acrylic hard court.

Klizan made the most of his foe's shortcomings as he bit down with crunching forehands to wrap up the set three 6-1.

Tsonga's misery was exacerbated further in the fourth set, with his 23-year-old opponent refusing to relent in his efforts to kill off the tie.

A double break saw Klizan swiftly surge to what was now an unassailable 4-0 lead, with the peak of his career to date moments from being realized.

Tsonga meanwhile, who is accustomed to having most fans eating out of his hand, felt the wrath of the famous New York crowd, after a halfhearted effort at a return was met with a serenade of boos.

France's No. 1 was out of sorts, bereft of ideas, with his U.S. Open campaign on borrowed time.

A mini revival afforded Tsonga temporary respite, but his sturdy opponent maintained his composure to serve out the set and match 6-3, to register the biggest shock of the tournament thus far.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Aug 31, 2012
Words:645
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