Tsonga's singing the right tune
"Tsonga feels happy about his tennis right now, and he may be worth a few dollars on a match-by-match basis as well as potentially backing him to reach the final."
He's done it once, but can Jo-Wilfried Tsonga repeat his heroics of two years ago at the Australian Open, asks Andy Morris.
The 2008 Australian Open was won by world number three Novak Djokovic, but many people who cast their memories back to that tournament will remember just as vividly the exploits of the hard-hitting Frenchman.
Tsonga, now the world no. 10, claimed the scalps of Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal on the way to the final before losing out to Djokovic.
And his form at the Kooyong Classic has suggested that he can give his backers a good run for their money again in Melbourne.
Haas dispatched with ease
Tsonga beat Germany's Tommy Haas in straight sets on Friday in the Kooyong semi-final, showing that he has recovered from a wrist injury which forced him to pull out of season-opening tournaments in the Middle East.
The Frenchman feels he is playing better every match, and those who have watched him in the invitational tournament will be keeping a close eye on him in the market for the Australian Open men's singles.
The 24-year-old outclassed French Open finalist Robin Soderling 7-6 6-1 on Thursday, and will take on Fernando Verdasco in Saturday's final.
The Spaniard beat Tsonga in four sets at the quarter-final stage in Melbourne last year, and it will be interesting to see how Tsonga has come on since then.
Stakhovsky is first up
At the Australian Open, Tsonga will start his campaign by taking on Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who beat 25th-ranked American Sam Querrey at the Kooyong tournament.
Tsonga should have little trouble reaching the second round, and in all likelihood - regardless of whether he wins the Kooyong tournament - he will avoid the headlines for at least the first couple of rounds while the likes of Federer, Nadal and Murray capture most of the attention.
But keep your eyes on the Frenchman, because he could be one of the tournament's value bets.
Traders can back him at 65 at this stage, surely generous for a man who won the Paris Masters in 2008 and the South African Open, Open 13 in Marseille and Japan Open last year. He takes a 10-3 record into the Australian Open, which is a surface he clearly likes.
Tsonga feels happy about his tennis right now, and he may be worth a few dollars on a match-by-match basis as well as potentially backing him to reach the final.