There will be no Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the French Open for only the second time in nine years after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga produced a rip-roaring performance to beat the Swiss 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-finals yesterday.
Twelve months after blowing four match points at the same stage against Novak Djokovic, Tsonga made sure he had a much easier ride as he sparked wild jubilations on Chatrier Court by downing a player who is used to being a fan favourite no matter where he plays.
A backhand long from Federer on match point handed Tsonga a place in the last four at Roland Garros for the first time as Federer made a quick exit from the arena where he had held aloft the Musketeers’ Cup in 2009. Tsonga will next face fourth seed David Ferrer, who beat Tommy Robredo in the other quarter-final.
There was no escape this time for comeback king Robredo as he lost an all-Spanish clash against ruthless Ferrer 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
The 31-year-old had recovered two-set deficits in all three of his previous rounds at Roland Garros but Ferrer was rock solid as he thrashed his countryman in one hour 25 minutes.
Serena survives scare to move into last-4
World number one Serena Williams survived a huge scare to reach her first French Open semi-final since 2003 yesterday, defeating unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Victory extended Serena’s winning streak to 29 matches as she moved into a semi-final clash against Italian fifth seed Sara Errani, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova last year.
“It was very difficult and I am very tired,” said Serena, who is the first American woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2004 to reach the last four.
“Svetlana played very well. She has won this tournament before so I am happy to get through such a tough match.
“Against Sara, it will be another tough match, she’s a great fighter.”
Errani reached the semi-finals for the second successive year with a 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win over Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
It will be the third semi-final appearance at a Grand Slam for the slender Italian, who stands at just 1.64m, after she also went to the last four at the 2012 US Open.
“There was a lot of pressure because I have a lot of points to defend. That’s a new experience for me,” said Errani, who came into the French Open with a 0-28 record against top-five players.
The remaining quarter-finals take place today when Sharapova tackles Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic and Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, faces Maria Kirilenko.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2013.
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