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Tsonga Defeated In Kooyong Final

Saturday, January 16, 2010

(L-R) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and Fernado Verdasco of Spain
(Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sent an early warning to his rivals that he is again ready to challenge for the Australian Open crown after a sold warm-up at Kooyong.

The world number 10 was a surprise finalist in 2008 as he cut a swathe through the draw - including wins over Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal - before falling to Novak Djokovic at the last hurdle.

Tsonga showed no signs of the wrist injury that forced him to pull out of the first two tournaments of the year as he easily disposed of German Tommy Haas 6-4 6-3 in only 74 minutes at the AAMI Classic exhibition. He will take on Spanish world number nine Fernando Verdasco in the final on Saturday.

"My game is improving match after match, I'm playing better and better every day and I think I will be ready for the big event," said Tsonga, who will take on Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round at Melbourne Park.

"I feel good and I'm very confident."

Earlier in the day, Fernando Gonzalez - himself a surprise finalist in Melbourne in 2007 - beat Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

Posted by Shelia

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