Johnson, New #1 US Player

Western & Southern Open, Ohio

[10] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. [23] Steve Johnson (USA)

Johnson won their only previous encounter last year; however, a lot was at stake today for Johnson and the level of tension was elevated.  A victory would improve his ranking, making him the number one ranked US player on the ATP Tour; however, more important, it would propel him to his first appearance in the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 event. The first set was all Johnson.  The importance of confidence was on display.  Beating a top ten player, Richard Gasquet, earlier this year was the first step. Winning the Olympic medal cemented Johnson’s belief that he can play with the top ten players and beat them.


Tsonga offered up more resistance in the third set.  In fact he had numerous opportunities to break, but he could not convert.  A tiebreak would decide if the match went the distance or not.  It was all Tsonga, until he tripped on his thoughts and fell apart serving for the set.  Johnson stayed calm despite being down in the breaker.  He confidently went for his shots and stuck to his strategy; however, unlike previous times where he may have cracked, he was sharp and forced his opponent to make error after error.  Johnson won 6-3, 7-6(6).  He surpassed John Isner in the rankings to become the number one ranked USA male player; he got to his first Masters 1000 quarterfinals; and he also got his second victory over a top ten player.  Despite the fatigue, Johnson keeps going.  Can he go all the way o the final?

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