ATP Tour Open 13: Tournament Win Would Catapult Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to Big Year

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2013

Jan 23, 2013; Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) reacts during his match against Roger Federer (SUI) on day ten of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park.  Mandatory Credit: Pierre Lahalle/Presse Sports via USA TODAY Sports
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is on his way to a quarterfinal matchup with Australian Bernard Tomic at the ATP Tour Open on Friday. If he can emerge victorious and go on to win the entire tournament, it could catapult him to a great 2013 season.

Tsonga has gotten off to a shaky start in singles tournaments this year.

After being bounced in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open at the hands of Roger Federer, Tsonga then went on to lose in the first round of the ATP ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament to Igor Sijsling.

That was no doubt an extremely disappointing showing for the Frenchman, but he now has a golden opportunity to erase that memory with a strong showing at the ATP Tour Open.

Tsonga started off his run by defeating Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets, although the match did go to a first-set tiebreak. Nevertheless, Tsonga took care of business and won the second set in a rather uneventful fashion.

If the 27-year-old should gain confidence moving forward as some of the grand slam tournaments approach, he must win these lesser tournament against lesser opponents in order to build that head of steam.

Remember, a successful 2013 will take just one major victory for Tsonga, which would be the first of his career.

In order to win this tournament, however, Tsonga will face some formidable foes, should the seedings play out.

Chances are Tsonga will have to face Juan Manuel del Potro to reach the final. The Argentinian has a 5–2 advantage over Tsonga in past meetings, so clearly a win for Tsonga over an opponent he typically has trouble with would be a huge confidence boost.

If he makes it to the final, Tsonga may have to face Tomas Berdych. Tsonga has dropped the last three matches between the two and this means Tsonga will have some exercising of the demons to do.

Granted, a victory for Tsonga in this tournament is important regardless of who he faces, but doing it by getting through the path mentioned above will only serve as a major lift as his 2013 campaign continues.

The first step to any successful season is getting that first win of the year. If Tsonga can accomplish that feat at the ATP Tour Open, it could be the start of big things for the Frenchman this season.