ATP Rio: Thiago Monteiro Stuns Jo-Wilfried Tsonga In First Round

ATP Rio: Thiago Monteiro Stuns Jo-Wilfried Tsonga In First Round

Brazilian wildcard Thiago Monteiro stunned world number nine Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of the Rio Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over the Frenchmen.

Thomas Cluck

Brazilian wildcard Thiago Monteiro stunned world number nine Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of the Rio Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over the Frenchmen on Wednesday in Rio. Montiago, playing in his first ever ATP tour level match, used the home crowd to his advantage, stunning Tsonga, sending the Frenchmen packing in the first round for the first time this season. 

Monteiro Races To One Set Lead

Tsonga and Monteiro held serve to begin the match, with both holding for the first six games, putting the match at 3-3. In the seventh game, the Rio resident broke the big Frenchmen's serve, going up 4-3. Monteiro then consolidated the break at love to go up 5-3. With Tsonga serving to stay in the match, the Frenchmen faltered getting broken in a long deuce game to give Monteiro the opening set.

Tsonga Fights Back In Second

With the Frenchmen expected to make light work of Montiero, Tsonga may have under estimated his Brazilian opponent, not putting in his best effort in the first. Tsonga though fought back immediately, breaking the Rio resident in the first game of the set. Tsonga then held for 2-0, consolidating the break. Both players held serve to 3-2, before Tsonga faced break points in his service game. The Frenchmen survived, winning the long deuce game to go up 4-2.

Monteiro then held for 4-3, keeping Tsonga's lead in the set to only one break. The big hitting Frenchmen then held, putting the pressure on the Brazilian to serve to stay in the set. Tsonga broke again, leveling the match at a set all, with Tsonga looking more likely to complete the comeback and go through to the second round. 

Monteiro Seals The Deal In The Third

In the opening game of the deciding set, Tsonga fended off a pair of break points, holding to go up 1-0 in the final set. Both players held twice from there, putting the score at 3-2. With the set on serve, Monteiro survived a lengthy deuce game at 3-2, to level the set at 3-3, making the chance of a shock victory for the Brazilian a glaring possibility. Tsonga and Monteiro held again from there, putting the decisive set at 4-4, with the Frenchmen serving in a huge ninth game.

Monteiro played a brilliant game to break Tsonga and go up 5-4 with the chance to serve out the upset, while Tsonga became increasingly frustrated, nearly throwing his racket at the back signs.  The Brazilian world number 338 made no mistake serving out the win, fighting through a long deuce game to seal the stunning first round win for the native. 

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Monteiro Discusses The Shock Win

“I´m leaving a dream and it hasn´t sunk in yet. This victory is the result of hard work and I believed I could beat him since the beginning of the match”, said the twenty one year old Rio resident.

“The secret was to focus on my game and try to do better every game. I know this victory doesn´t mean much, so I need to continue improving. My goal is to reach to top 100 and there is a long way to get there.” 

Montiero Behind The Numbers

The Brazilian had an incredible serving performance, making 67 percent of first serves and also winning 67 percent of those points. On second serve, Monteiro won 61 percent of second serve points, compared to his opponents 53 percent of second serve points won. Monteiro out served the Frenchmen, something that does not happen often for Tsonga, due to Tsonga possessing one of the biggest serves in tennis. 

Tsonga's Continued Struggles

The French world number nine has continued with his inconsistent results outside of majors, losing early more often than not at lower tier events. At the majors, Tsonga has tended to fare pretty well, generally making the round of sixteen or quarterfinals. Though good results, the Frenchmen has not lived up to his hype, not performing close to as well as he should be with his immense talent.

Tsonga began his year in Abu Dhabi, losing in his opening match to David Ferrer, before pulling out of his second due to a recurring  forearm injury. Tsonga then lost in the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut. In Melbourne at the Australian Open, Tsonga continued his trend of fourth round exits, losing to Kei Nishikori. Last week, the Frenchmen lost in the quarterfinals of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires to Nicolas Almagro

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Up Next For Montiero

Up next for the Brazilian is Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

Monteiro discussed his second round encounter with Cuevas after his win today, “He is very aggressive and it´s going to be another tough match for me. I´ll try to stick to the same strategy I used today and keep believing”, said the Brazilian left hander.

Cuevas and Monteiro have never met.