Djokovic faces Federer in semis after great French Open escape
June 5, 2012 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
Novak Djokovic roars with relief after coming through his five-set quarterfinal against French Open crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Roland Garros.
Nole's great escape
Second time lucky?
Del Potro's pain
- Novak Djokovic saves four match-points to reach French Open semifinals
- World No. 1 ends France's hopes of first male winner since 1983
- Serbian seeking to be first man since 1969 to hold all four grand slam titles
- He will play 16-time grand slam champion Roger Federer in Friday's semi
(CNN) -- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic battled back from the brink of defeat at the French Open on Tuesday to rescue his hopes of becoming the first man in 43 years to hold all four grand slam titles.
The Serbian saved four match-points before finally overcoming home favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic, who has never reached the final at Roland Garros, triumphed 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 against the fifth seed in a scintillating match lasting just over four hours.
The 25-year-old set up a rematch with 16-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, who beat Djokovic in the Paris semifinals last year to end his 43-match winning run.
"He was the better player for most of the match and I was fortunate to come back from four match-points down. It was an incredible match," said Djokovic, who won the first and fifth sets in a combined time of just 53 minutes.
Rafael Nadal, right, was apologetic after winning 17 games in a row in his straight-sets destruction of good friend Juan Monaco in the fourth round of the French Open.
Nadal on course to meet Murray
Hantuchova expects Sharapova victory
Spirit, fitness and David Ferrer
Michael Chang's historic French victory
The hopes of a nation had rested on Tsonga, playing in the quarterfinals of his home event for the first time, but France's wait for a first male champion since Yannick Noah in 1983 must continue.
Instead, Djokovic will have a day's rest before continuing his bid to match Australia's Rod Laver, who twice won all four grand slams in a calendar year -- as an amateur in 1962 and then as a professional at the start of the Open era in 1969.
"I did what I said I would and gave everything. I came close and I would have loved to have won," said Tsonga, who had vowed before the match to "fight like a lion."
"It's a shame because I was pretty close, but at the end I had no energy left. Now I will have to close this chapter," the 27-year-old added.
Federer reached the last four at a major for a record-equaling 31st time as he came from two sets down to end the hopes of injury-hampered Juan Martin Del Potro.
The Swiss third seed won 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-0 6-3 in a virtual repeat of their 2009 semifinal, when Federer went on to claim the Roland Garros crown for the first and only time in his illustrious career.
Del Potro avenged that defeat by beating Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open final for his only major success, but this time the Argentine ninth seed could not maintain his ferocious opening momentum.
"I knew Juan Martin's knee was bothering him and was trying to finish the rallies quickly," Federer said. "I knew it would be a big fight today."
The other two quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, when world No. 2 Rafael Nadal continues his bid for a record seventh title as he takes on fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, the 12th seed.
Britain's world No. 4 Andy Murray faces a big test of his hopes of winning his first grand slam as he lines up against sixth seed David Ferrer, who has won all of their three clay clashes.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.