PARIS — Former Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will retire after the French Open, hoping to put the final touches on an injury-plagued career in front of his home crowd.
The 36-year-old Frenchman reached a career-high ranking of No. 5 in 2012, but has dropped to No. 220 following his latest lengthy injury layoff. That means he can’t enter the main draw at Roland Garros automatically through his ranking, and will have to rely on being granted a wild-card entry by organizers.
Tsonga is the first member of a gifted generation of French players that emerged nearly 20 years ago – which also includes Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon – to call it quits.
“This is the last thrill,” Tsonga said in a video. “This will be my 15th Roland. I hope that I will stay fit before and be able to be the one I have always been in that tournament.”
Tsonga reached the semifinals twice at the French Open, in 2013 and 2015.
He has won 18 ATP titles and made it to the Australian Open final in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic. He earned a combined 16 wins against the Big Three of Roger Federer (6), Rafael Nadal (4) and Djokovic (6).
In 2017, he also helped France win its first Davis Cup title in 16 years. But injuries have hindered Tsonga recently. The Frenchman underwent left knee surgery in 2018 and was then hampered by back problems.
The French Open starts on May 22 in Paris.
OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.
The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.
The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.
“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.
Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.
Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.
Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.
“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”
Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.