Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Kei Nishikori ends Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's ATP finals hopes

updated 7:26 PM EDT, Tue October 29, 2013
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will miss ATP finals after losing to Kei Nishikori in Paris
  • Frenchman was one place outside those who will qualify for season-ending event
  • Japan's Nishikori will next face another French London hopeful, Richard Gasquet
  • World No. 2 Novak Djokovic wins his opening match at the Masters 1000 event

(CNN) -- One French tennis star kept alive his hopes of a long-awaited return to the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday, but another has missed out on a third successive appearance.

Jo-Wilfried was the 2011 runner-up at the men's season-ending tournament, but he will not be part of the eight-man line-up in London next month after blowing two match-points against Kei Nishikori in the second round of the Paris Masters.

Tsonga was ranked a career-high fifth last year, but has dropped to 10th in the standings after sitting out big chunks of this season due to injury.

The 28-year-old raced to victory in the opening set against Nishikori but then lost two tie-breakers against the world No. 19 as he went down 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (9-7).

Kei Nishikori: Tokyo's rising tennis ace
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur
Wawrinka ready for singles success
A workout with David Ferrer

"I believe he managed well, because I could have won that match," Tsonga said of Nishikori, who beat France's Julien Benneteau in his opening match. "He was very solid, especially during the important moments.

Read: Cilic wins on return from doping ban

"I really have to improve my physical condition. I have to work a lot and very hard during the break. But if I'm able to play very solid matches like I played for the first set, it's going to be good."

Tsonga led 6-5 in the decider but double-faulted, then Nishikori saved himself at 7-6 down with an ace.

The first Japanese man to reach the fourth round of the French Open since 1938, he will next take on another player from the host country of this tournament -- Richard Gasquet -- on Thursday.

With world No. 3 Andy Murray sidelined by injury for the rest of this year, ninth-ranked Gasquet holds the last place for London as he bids for his first qualification since his 2007 finals debut in Shanghai.

He wasted two match-points in the second set against Fernando Verdasco on Tuesday but fought back to beat the Spaniard 7-5 6-7 (6-7) 6-3 in a match lasting two hours and 41 minutes.

Read: Exhausted Serena retains WTA crown

"I felt bad," Gasquet said. "I had two match points and I was close to winning the match. There was a tie-break after that, and I thought it was very tough to lose that second set.

"Physically, it was tough. It could have turned around in his favor. I was lucky."

South African Kevin Anderson also had a measure of luck as his first-round opponent Mikhail Youzhny retired hurt with the score 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 2-1.

World No. 21 Anderson will next face 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, who needs to win Wednesday's match to secure a record 12th consecutive appearance at the finals.

Federer, seventh in the Race to London standings, spent Tuesday engaging with his fans on Twitter.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who also had a first-round bye, overcame a stubborn performance by 189th-ranked Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert to triumph 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will begin his campaign Wednesday against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers, who defeated Russia's Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 6-4 in round one.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.