Australian Open third round preview: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Jack Sock

Australian Open third round preview: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Jack Sock

The two seeded players face off in what could be an exciting and close battle

oliver-dickson-jefford
Oliver Dickson Jefford

One of the most exciting matches of the day could be the second match on the Margaret Court Arena, which sees 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga take on 23rd seed Jack Sock for a place in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

It is the Frenchman who has won both their previous meetings, though both have been fairly tight and the American has had a better start to the season of the two, winning the ASB Classic just last week.

The winner of this match faces either 27th seed Bernard Tomic or the unseeded Dan Evans in the fourth round.

So far in Melbourne

Neither of the two has had it particularly easy at the tournament so far, though the American has been slightly more comfortable, winning both his matches in straight sets.

Jack Sock in action against Karen Khachanov (Getty/Jack Thomas)
Jack Sock in action against Karen Khachanov (Getty/Jack Thomas)

Sock started against the potentially dangerous Pierre-Hugues Herbert, edging a tight second set on his way to a 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 win over the Frenchman. After that, the 23rd seed faced other potentially dangerous opponent in form of Karen Khachanov, though saw off the young Russian 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach this stage; he will likely be confident after two solid wins.

Things were a little more sticky for Tsonga to begin with; despite being comfortable, to begin with, the 12th seed suffered a third-set wobble before eventually seeing off Thiago Monteiro 6-1, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. However, the Frenchman was nearer his best in the second round, easing past Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, and will be tough to beat.

Analysis

One advantage for Tsonga is that he is the more powerful of the two, so will probably be able to dictate large patterns of play if he is play near his best. However, the Frenchman has been erratic of late, and must be careful of not making too many errors against an opponent who is becoming more and more solid. Furthermore, Tsonga must be wary of playing too many shots to Sock’s forehand- the strongest part of the American’s game- though must look to impose himself and be as aggressive as people.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga should look to be aggressive and dictate play (Getty/Michael Dodge)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga should look to be aggressive and dictate play (Getty/Michael Dodge)

Sock probably cannot match Tsonga’s raw power, so must try to attack at every opportunity he may get, as well as try to force errors out the Frenchman. The 23rd seed should look to use his strong forehand as much as possible, as he may be able to win many points using this, though he must also serve well against someone who will be able to return so powerfully. Also, as a good doubles player, Sock may want to to try and come into the net to finish points off quickly; it will be interesting to see if does this.

Assessment

With both men in encouraging form in the previous round, we could get a high-quality match, and it looks set to be tight. It seems that Tsonga, with his experience and power, should be able to edge this, though it shouldn’t be a surprise if Sock pulls off the slight upset.

Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets

VAVEL Logo