Tennis: Tsonga not fully fit but floors off-key Monfils in Japan Open
TOKYO (AFP) - Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bludgeoned close friend Gael Monfils into submission with a 6-3, 7-6 victory in a first-round French rendezvous at the US$1.43 million (S$1.8 million) Japan Open on Monday.
World No.7 Juan Martin del Potro heads the Tokyo field in the absence of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who pulled out to undergo minor back surgery.
The giant Argentinian, US Open winner in 2009, faces Cyprus' Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday in his opening match at the venue for the 2020 Olympic tennis competition.
Tsonga and Monfils live close to each other in Switzerland and often socialise together, but the French connection counted for little once they stepped on court as Tsonga - frequently likened to Muhammad Ali because of his looks and physique - overpowered his compatriot with a brutal display of hitting.