France's Gasquet, Tsonga win with one eye on Euros

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:57am EDT
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By Alison Williams

LONDON (Reuters) - Hoping for a sporting clean sweep, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga carried the French flag into the Wimbledon second round with straight-sets wins over Britain's Aljaz Bedene and Spain's Inigo Cervantes on Tuesday.

Seventh seed Gasquet used his trademark backhand to good effect to see off the British number two 6-3 6-4 6-3, although both players pulled off strokes that were at times things of beauty during their baseline rallies.

Tsonga, back in action for the first time after retiring from the French Open with a groin injury, shook off the cobwebs of a close first few games to beat the Spaniard, ranked 75th in the world, 6-4 7-6(5) 6-4.

France started the tournament with 16 men in singles action, the most of any country and an Open Era record.

With the men's final at Wimbledon and the climax of soccer's European Championship in Paris both on July 10, the French will be hoping to scoop all the sporting silverware a week on Sunday.

Gasquet lost in the semi-finals last year to eventual winner Novak Djokovic, after also reaching the last four in 2007.

He edged out Bedene, ranked 56th and coming off the back of reaching the third round at Roland Garros, in all areas of the match, before closing it out with a backhand crosscourt volley.

"It's a close match because he's playing very good from the baseline. He's a very dangerous player, has a good serve. To win in three sets, it's a good match for me," Gasquet told reporters.   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 28/6/16 France's Richard Gasquet celebrates winning his match against Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene REUTERS/Tony O'Brien