World No. 19-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came from behind to oust world No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the AEGON Championships on Friday at The Queen’s Club, joining Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and surprising Brit James Ward in the semis.
After splitting the first two sets, Tsonga, who also beat Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open, raced past the tired-looking Spaniard in the third set.
“I didn’t play badly at the beginning,” Nadal said. “He was serving really well. Second set I had my chances, in my opinion. Probably after losing second set mentally I lost my concentration. First game [of the third set] mentally a little bit tired. A lot of matches in a row. And after that with the break in the third it was a mountain for me to come back into the match.”
In the semis Tsonga will meet the Brit wildcard Ward, who beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-7(14), 6-4 to reach his first tour-level semifinal. The 24-year-old Ward earlier in the day in rain-delayed play upset American Sam Querrey in a resumed match.
The four-time Queen’s champion Roddick weathered a rain-interrupted meeting with Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, prevailing 6-2, 6-2, over the Spaniard to set up a semifinal meeting with Murray, who received a walkover from Marin Cilic who withdrew due to an ankle injury.
The 28-year-old Roddick beat Murray in their last match in the 2009 Wimbledon semifinals.
“It’s going to be tough,” Roddick said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of surprises either way. I feel like we’re probably in the two hands’ worth of guys that really feel comfortable on this surface and feel like they can play well on it. It’s certainly going to be tough. He’s played a lot of matches. He’s playing well. It’s going to be a tough one for sure.”
Ward is the first British wildcard since Chris Bailey in 1989 to reach the Queen’s quarters, and Murray and Ward are the first two Brits to reach the Queen’s quarters since 2001.
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