Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats Roger Federer in straight sets to reach French Open semifinals
Frenchman could become the first local male champion since Yannick Noah in 1983
Sixth seed will meet David Ferrer in the semifinals
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is two victories away from becoming the first local male player to win the French Open in 30 years after he dismantled Roger Federer in a stunning 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory in Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
The 28-year-old must now beat Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who saw off compatriot Tommy Robredo in a 6-2 6-1 6-1 win, in the semifinal if he is to replicate Yannick Noah’s 1983 triumph.
Only one Frenchman has reached the men’s singles finals at Roland Garros since, with Henri Laconte beaten by Mats Wilander of Sweden in 1988.
Sixth seed Tsonga was in irresistible form on Tuesday as he atoned for the intense disappointment of his quarterfinal exit against Novak Djokovic last year, when he lost despite creating four match points.
“It’s extraordinary to be here and to have won,” he said.
“I could not have dreamed it any better. I played superbly and I beat a champion who has won everything.”
When Federer took an early break in the first set, it seemed as though the Swiss would be coasting to yet another grand slam semifinal but the 28-year-old Frenchman rallied in superb form.
The first Frenchman into the last four since Gael Monfils five years ago, Tsonga has reached his first semifinal at Roland Garros without dropping a set.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Federer – who was bidding for an 18th grand slam title – struggled to find any rhythm on a surface where he has never convinced.
The defeat means the former world number one has failed to reach the semifinals of a grand slam for only the fifth time since 2004.
Only one of his 17 grand slams has come in Paris, with the Swiss having won the Australian Open four times, the U.S. Open on five occasions and Wimbledon in seven different years.
In a performance littered with 34 unforced errors, the demise of 2009 champions Federer came in just one hour and 51 minutes to the delight of those watching courtside at the Chatrier stadium.
“I thought he played great today,” Federer said. “He was, in all areas, better than me today. That’s why the result was pretty clean.
“I was impressed by the way he played today. I think I struggled a little bit everywhere. To be honest, personally, I’m pretty sad about the match and the way I played.”
Tsonga – who lost his only grand slam final to Novak Djokovic at the 2008 Australian Open – has triumphed in only one of his three meetings against Ferrer, when defeating the Spaniard at Wimbledon in 2011.
Ferrer made light work of beating Robredo as he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros for the second year in succession, the key difference being that – like Tsonga – he has not dropped a set this time around.
On Wednesday, the lineup for the second semifinal will be known when world No. 1 Novak Djokovic takes on Tommy Haas while Rafael Nadal will try to continue his domination of Paris when facing Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.