Another tournament and another loss for the once-No. 1 Roger Federer. Last night Federer was unable to match the sheer power and force of JW Tsonga falling again to the Frenchman 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 in the third round of the Tennis Masters Montreal.
Federer was out for revenge after stunningly blowing a 2-0 set lead to Tsonga at Wimbledon, and for a similar choke job against JW in Montreal two years. But the free-swinging Tsonga was up to the task sending yet another tennis superstar out of Canada.
“Two years ago he didn’t really deserve the victory,” lamented Federer. “I believe he played a lot better today, and he deserved it today. Two years ago I think he was lucky to pull out the win. Tonight he played well and he played extraordinary shots as we know he can do. I was not able to do that.”
So is this the new “norm” for Federer who hasn’t won a title since Doha? Are we now getting use to him failing to reach finals, semifinals and now quarterfinals? With an upcoming title defense at Cincinnati and the US Open weeks away, things sure don’t look encouraging for the now 30-year-old Swiss.
“I played two matches. I feel good physically,” Federer said. “New York is in one month. It’s far away. If you want to talk about the US Open, I can tell you I feel good mentally and I’m playing well, if that’s the goal for everybody else, but it’s not mine right now.”
And credit to Tsonga who if he can stay healthy – a very big if – can break up that Fab Four cartel we have at the top.
“[This] is the match I played best,” said Tsonga who’ll face Nicolas Almagro this evening. “I really played good tonight. I was opportunistic. I didn’t miss any opportunities I had. I was able to break before he did. I’m very happy the way I won this match.
“I’m happy now to be in the quarter-finals. It was a tough draw to have Federer in the Round of 16. I’m going to rest and hope to play a good match tomorrow.”
Also on Thursday, Novak Djokovic may not be playing his best tennis but nonetheless he’s still winning. Yesterday the World No. 1 dispatched Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-2. Djokovic now gets a date tonight with Gael Monfils who needed a third set tiebreak to beat Viktor Troicki.
“Both of the matches that I’ve played here were against good players,” Djokovic said. “But I didn’t get any rhythm I think out of both matches. Against Davydenko, he started off the match incredibly hitting winners. Then hitting a lot of unforced errors today. Conditions were quite a bit different than yesterday. A lot of wind involved. It wasn’t really a beautiful match to play and to watch. But I guess in the right moments I was trying to keep the ball into the court, make my opponent make an unforced error. I was just more patient and played well. So that’s the positive.”
In the other quarterfinals, surging Mardy Fish meets Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych battles Janko Tipsarevic.
After all the upsets I think today we’ll see the favorites come through – Djokovic, Tsonga, Berdych and Fish. I think.
Meanwhile, the upsets piled up like a freeway car crash Thursday in Toronto where Maria Sharapova was shocked by a qualifier named Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 7-5. For Sharapova that loss has to be an absolute headscratcher. But really the whole tournament/week has been one – only two Top 10 seeds are still alive in the quarters!
Other surprising results were Roberta Vinci beating Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic pounding Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur topping Li Na and Aggie Radwanska beating Vera Zvonareva.
Tournament favorite Serena Williams even found herself in trouble but managed to escape the clutches of Jie Zheng to win in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Victoria Azarenka was also a winner.
ESPN2 has coverage at noon of the Fish match, then a 7pm telecast of Serena and Djokovic. ESPN3.com will have live streaming from the other matches (I think).
FRIDAY MONTREAL SCHEDULE
CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
 M Fish (USA) vs  S Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 2:00 PM
 T Berdych (CZE) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB)
Not Before 5:30 PM
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs  N Almagro (ESP)
Not Before 7:30 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  G Monfils (FRA)
FRIDAY TORONTO SCHEDULE
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Roberta Vinci vs. Samantha Stosur
2. Galina Voskoboeva vs. Victoria Azarenka (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Andrea Petkovic (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Lucie Safarova vs. Serena Williams (NB 19.00hrs)
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