(Reuters) – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga turned back the clock to defeat Canadian Brayden Schnur 6-4 7-6(2) at the Citi Open in Washington on Monday in his first match at the tournament in a decade.
The 34-year-old Frenchman pumped his fists, leapt in the air and did a series of twirls after Schnur sent a backhand long on match point to end the first-round match on a scorching day in the nation’s capital.
Tsonga, who was once ranked as high as world number five but is now 70th, looked sharp but will have his work cut out for him in the second round when he faces second-seeded Karen Khachanov.
“Right now he’s a tough opponent. I beat him two times before but that was before,” he said of the Russian world number eight.
“I’m the outsider in this match on paper but in my head I’m going out there to play my game and go through.”
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, France’s Adrian Mannarino and Americans Bjorn Fratangelo and Tim Smyczek were among the other players to advance on Monday, when play was interrupted for a while by rain.
Tuesday will see maverick Australian Nick Kyrgios face American Thai-Son Kwiatkowski for the first time and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic battle Romanian Marius Copil.
On the women’s side of the draw, Lauren Davis put a quick end to Canadian Eugenie Bouchard’s tournament with a convincing 6-1 6-2 win.
Davis, a finalist at the tournament in 2016, ended the match with an emphatic overhead and will face fellow American Sofia Kenin in the second round.
Other first-round winners included Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya, American Jessica Pegula and Poland’s Iga Swiatek.
Top seed Sloane Stephens will face Poland’s Rebecca Peterson and 15-year-old American sensation Cori Gauff is in action against Kazakh Zarina Diyas on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney)