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

Asia's tennis superstars
Asia's tennis superstars

    JUST WATCHED

    Asia's tennis superstars

MUST WATCH

Asia's tennis superstars 02:15

Story highlights

  • 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

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).

"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.

Kei Nishikori: Tokyo's rising tennis ace
Kei Nishikori: Tokyo's rising tennis ace

    JUST WATCHED

    Kei Nishikori: Tokyo's rising tennis ace

MUST WATCH

Kei Nishikori: Tokyo's rising tennis ace 04:47
PLAY VIDEO
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur

    JUST WATCHED

    Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur

MUST WATCH

Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur 03:03
PLAY VIDEO
Wawrinka ready for singles success
Wawrinka ready for singles success

    JUST WATCHED

    Wawrinka ready for singles success

MUST WATCH

Wawrinka ready for singles success 06:11
PLAY VIDEO
A workout with David Ferrer
A workout with David Ferrer

    JUST WATCHED

    A workout with David Ferrer

MUST WATCH

A workout with David Ferrer 03:59
PLAY VIDEO

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.

        Tennis

      • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

        What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

        Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
      • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

        Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

        The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
      • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

        'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

        His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
      • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

        Serena savors U.S. Open win

        Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
      • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

        The amazing life of Althea Gibson

        Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
      • Courting couple at match point

        "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.
      • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

        'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

        It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
      • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

        Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.