15 Jan 2016

Top flight semi-finals for ASB Classic

8:23 am on 15 January 2016

French flair, American power and two Spanish maestros feature in the men's semi finals at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The first and second seeds, David Ferrer, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, have safely made it through to the final four and will be joined by American Jack Sock and Ferrer's compatriot, Roberto Bautista Agut.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Photo: Photosport

Three of those four players are seeded for the tournament, which willcome as a relief to organisers following the early exists of the top seeds in last week's women's draw.

In this year's tournament, the four top seeds are inside the top twelve players in the world, the top eight, inside the top 25 in the world.

Only one of the players in the semi finals, Jack Sock, isn't seeded, however, he is ranked 26th in the world, only one spot behind the eighth seed.

With such depth of field, this year's tournament is the strongest ever seen at the Stanley Street courts.

At the same time in Sydney there's the Apia International, another tournament that players use as preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year - the Australian Open.

But why is it that a number of the world's best, choose to fly across the Tasman a week before the Melbourne based tournament?

American Sam Querrey, who finished runner-up in 2009 and played in Auckland again this week rates the Auckland tournament "ten times better than Sydney."

"You get great crowds and it's just a nice place to be I really enjoy it every year."

Semi finalist and second seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who's playing in New Zealand for the first time, shares Querrey's view.

Although for Tsonga, as much as it's about having fun, it's still business as usual on court.

Depending on your point of view some spectators have also been lucky or unlucky enough to come away with a special souvenir.

Americann Jack Sock has started throwing his socks into the crowd after each win.

"I only came up with that in training and thought I would try it out....I was going to sign it and give it out but I wore black sock so that was kind of difficult so I might bring a white one with me and sign that and see how it goes."

Jack Sock

Smelly, sweaty socks are on offer from Jack Sock. Photo: Photosport

In Friday's semi-finals Sock will play top seed David Ferrer of Spain while second seed Tsonga plays the eights seeded Roberto Bautista Agut also from Spain.