Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga barely had to break a sweat in bypassing Blaz Kavcic of Slovakia 6-2 6-1 6-4 at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday.
The eighth-ranked Tsonga stunningly waltzed through the match in all of 79 minutes, winning the first set in 24 minutes, the second set in 22 and the third set in 33 minutes.
At the end of the 2012 season, Tsonga hired Australian Roger Rasheed to be his coach, and the Frenchman spent much of the offseason in Australia training. The new alliance appears to be working for Tsonga, always noted as a superb athletic talent, but at times seemingly directionless in his match strategy.
Tsonga enjoys playing at the Australian Open, and it is the venue where he’s posted his best Grand Slam result, reaching the 2008 final where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
There’s no doubt that the 93rd-ranked Kavcic was probably still feeling the effects of his hard-fought 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 (3) 10-8 second-round win over wildcard James Duckworth of Australia on Thursday, but even if Kavcic wasn’t fatigued, it was unlikely he would have had the weapons to have challenged Tsonga in Saturday’s match.
Tsonga has now moved into the fourth round without dropping a set in his first three matches.
The Frenchman executed 45 winners in the match, 20 of those coming off of his forehand, and closed out all three sets with a forehand winner.
In contrast, Kavcic could only muster eight total winners all day long.
Tsonga had his serve broken only once, in the seventh game of the third set. Kavcic hit a backhand winner at 30-40 and eventually evened the score at 4-4, but Tsonga quickly took the final two games to secure the victory.
Next in Tsonga’s sights is fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, with the ninth-seeded Gasquet ousting Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3 7-6 (2) 6-0 on Saturday.