Tsonga advances at Winston-Salem
Top-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga launched his campaign at the ATP's Winston-Salem hardcourt tournament with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Thomaz Bellucci on Tuesday.
Tsonga, ranked sixth in the world, converted just one of his nine break point opportunities, but saved all five that he faced to beat the Brazilian in a match lasting one hour 49 minutes.
Tsonga, who also beat Bellucci at the London Olympics, was one of 16 seeded players to enjoy a first-round bye. In the third round he'll face Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Spain's Pablo Andujar.
Second-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who like Tsonga is appearing for the first time at this US Open tune-up event, needed just 95 minutes to oust Russian Alex Bogomolov 6-3, 7-5.
Berdych will next play Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, who beat German qualifier Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-3.
Defending champion and third seed John Isner of the United States shook off a slow start to beat 50th-ranked Slovakian Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
"The first one is normally the toughest," said Isner, ranked 10th in the world.
"Credit to him, he came out and was playing pretty well, and I wasn't on top of my game and that's all it took in the first set. From that point on, I knew it was going to be a battle."
Isner gained the decisive break for a 6-5 lead in the third set and wrapped up the victory in two hours and two minutes.
"I wasn't that great out there today, but I think as the tournament progresses I'll keep getting stronger," he said.
Fourth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov lost only 10 points on his serve and fired eight aces en route to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun.
Poland's Lukasz Kubot withstood 15 aces from eighth seed Julien Benneteau in a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over the Frenchman, who lost to Isner in the final here last year.
Another seeded casualty was No 11 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, who fell to Belgian Steve Darcis 6-2, 6-2.
Darcis will play American Andy Roddick, the fifth seed, in the third round.
Sixth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain and No 7 Sam Querrey of the United States both advanced.
Granollers defeated American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2, while Querrey dispatched Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2 in a match that had been suspended on Monday night because of rain.