Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has shown no signs of a seven-month tour absence through injury last season, reprising his form of more than a decade ago to beat Australian Alex de Minaur in the Brisbane International quarter-finals.
The 2008 Australian Open finalist had knee surgery last year, but the 33-year-old piloted his big frame expertly around Pat Rafter Arena in a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) win.
The 19-year-old was typically resilient in defeat, hanging with the Frenchman in a high-quality contest without managing any knock-out blows.
Tsonga burst out of the blocks, bullying the Sydney teenager to jump ahead 2-0.
But de Minaur scrambled well in the next game to jag a point he should never have won and was rewarded with the next three points to break straight back.
Tsonga staved off break points in the next game and then really found his groove, high-fiving the crowd after a nifty one-handed backhand winner from deep in the court.
The Frenchman pounced in the ninth game, drilling big winners from both wings to grab the decisive break and serve out the set in 42 minutes.
De Minaur, who announced himself with a semi-final charge in Brisbane 12 months ago, ran and ran in the second set as Tsonga blazed away.
He even busted a shoe as he came within a whisker of breaking in the sixth game.
Tsonga saved all three break points though and was untouchable in a devastating tiebreak that bodes well ahead of another Australian Open campaign.
“I played a great match; I expected something like this before the match because I saw him play a few times,” Tsonga said.
“He’s a very good player. We have completely different games; it was good tennis.
“I’m just really happy with the way I played and I hope I will do better in the next round again.”
Tsonga with meet 22-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev in a Saturday night semi-final, while Jeremy Chardy plays Kei Nishikori for a spot in the final earlier in the day.