Doha: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga laboured to a first-round victory at the Qatar Open on Tuesday, defeating wildcard Malek Jaziri in three sets in blustery conditions.

The third-seeded Frenchman triumphed 7-6 6-7 6-1 after struggling with his forehand on Doha's centre court.

"I played a lot last year to come back into the top 10, it was really difficult for me," Tsonga said.

"I came into this tournament without very good preparation. However, I'm here and hopefully I will play good tennis."

The first two sets went with serve as the players traded tiebreaks before Tsonga, ranked six in the world, took a 3-1 lead in the final set, winning the next two games to love as he wore down the bulky Jaziri.

Tsonga, 26, played a clever lob to earn two match points, sealing victory after the Tunisian put a forehand into the net.

There was little between the players in the first two sets. At 6-5 ahead in the first, Tsonga missed a straightforward forehand to allow his opponent to pull level.

The subsequent tiebreak was riddled with errors, Jaziri serving two double faults and Tsonga one. Tsonga recovered from a mini-break down to clinch the set with a fierce serve that Jaziri, 27, could only club into the net.

Jaziri, the world number 118, saved a break point in the opening game of the second set, dashing to the net to dispatch a whipped winner, and both players increasingly moved in from the baseline, with Tsonga often struggling to return shots played around his feet.

Yet neither player could find a break and the second set concluded with another tiebreak.

Jaziri surged into a 4-1 lead, digging out a brilliant drop shot volley as he charged into the net after Tsonga had given away two points with unforced errors.

The 2008 Australian Open runner-up recovered to take the score to 6-5, but a wide forehand allowed Jaziri to square the match.

(Agencies)