By Toby Davis
LONDON (Reuters) – Twice Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breezed into the second round on Monday with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over British wildcard Cameron Norrie, whose first grand slam appearance ended in a swift and brutal exit.
Tsonga, the 12th seed, was dumped out in the second round last year but was never forced out of second gear as he swatted Norrie aside on Court Two, exposing all the Briton’s inexperience.
For Tsonga, it was an opportunity to find some rhythm on grass having played only two matches at Queen’s after losing in the first round of the French Open.
He had some sympathy for his battered opponent, who had previously claimed only one tour-level match victory at Eastbourne last week.
“I know how difficult it is to come for the first time to these kind of tournaments against a guy who is supposed to be a lot better than you. It’s not easy,” Tsonga told reporters.
There were few areas of the game where Norrie had been able to compete against Tsonga, who did not face a break point in the match.
The world number 10 hit 30 winners to Norrie’s 16 and made 13 unforced errors to the 30 that came from the 21-year-old.
Tsonga had begun in his usual languid fashion before cranking up the pressure to break twice and take the first set against the South African-born Norrie.
While Norrie had weapons, principally a decent serve and a whip-crack forehand, they were all too often firing off target, allowing Tsonga to move through the gears at key moments.
The match became increasingly one-sided in the second set as Norrie double-faulted to hand Tsonga a break in the sixth game before tamely netting a backhand to fall two sets behind.
Tsonga broke twice again in the third set to wrap up victory in one hour and 23 minutes, disappearing swiftly off court after saluting the British crowd, who had been given few opportunities to cheer the young home hope.
Despite the manner of his defeat, however, Norrie remained resolutely upbeat, telling reporters he had “enjoyed every moment of it”.
“I tried my hardest, and there’s nothing more I can do,” he told reporters. “I’m proud of myself.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)