May 29, 2013 / 1:23 PM / 6 years ago

Tsonga shows the French the way into round three

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates defeating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in their men's singles match during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 29, 2013. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survived a first-set scare to advance into the third round of the French Open with a 7-6 (6) 6-4 6-3 win against Finn Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday.

The sixth-seeded Tsonga, the last French man to reach a grand slam final at the 2008 Australian Open final, next faces either French 25th seed Jeremy Chardy or Spain’s Robert Bautista Agut.

Tsonga saved a set point in the first-set tiebreak but then turned up the power and never looked back on a chilly Court Philippe Chatrier.

He ended the contest on his first match point with a backhand passing shot after less than two hours.

“I was opportunistic, I made the most of my chances,” Tsonga told a courtside interviewer.

Later on Wednesday, Gael Monfils, who eliminated Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the first round, takes on Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.

Julien Benneteau, the 30th seed, faces German Tobias Kamke in the second round.

The last French man to win a grand slam singles title was Yannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983. Henri Leconte was the last French man to reach the singles final at Roland Garros, in 1988.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon

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