Now at 31, Roger Federer continues to have difficulty against the top players. Today in the French Open quarterfinals, Federer got waxed routinely by the world No. 8 Tsonga 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.
Federer, playing in his 36th straight Slam quarterfinals, had beaten Tsonga in nine of 12 meetings, and after leading by a break 4-3 and serving 40-15, it looked like the trend would continue. But in this matchup it was all Tsonga who scored his first straight-set win over the Swiss.
“I thought he played great today” said Federer who’s lone Top 10 win this year came over Tsonga in Australia. “He was in all areas better than me today, that’s why the result was pretty clean. No doubt about it. I was impressed by the way he played today. They have much more energy here, the French guys, than maybe elsewhere. I struggled a little bit everywhere.
“To be honest, personally, I’m pretty sad about the match and the way I played, but that’s how it goes, you know. I tried to figure things out, but it was difficult. And Jo does a good job keeping the pressure on. He can serve his way out of trouble at times, he returned better than I did. I struggled to find my rhythm.”
The loss leaves Federer still titleless since Cincinnati last August and without a Slam final since Wimbledon. And after an error-filled session today, even earlier exits in Grand Slam play might be right around the corner.
Meanwhile Tsonga, who is trying to become the first Frenchman to win here in 30 years since Yannick Noah, advances to his first French Open semifinal where he’ll meet David Ferrer on Friday.
“Everybody’s been expecting a lot from me since the beginning of this tournament,” said Tsonga. “Not only this tournament, but every day. So I’m used to it. Now what is important, is to stay focused, to think about my next match. Because it will be extremely tough against a player who didn’t lose a single set and won with a very striking score in the quarter-finals.
“I feel I’m able to beat [Ferrer] because I believe I have the weapons for that. I have more endurance now. I’m more consistent. I hit harder than he does, and normally I serve a lot better than him.”
Ferrer returned to the semifinals after thumping an exhausted Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.
“When you’re in good shape, you feel good, you can be totally motivated, you have this will to play, you’re ready to play for five hours, for five sets,” Ferrer said. “In a Grand Slam, that’s very important. When you reach the last rounds ‑ all players will tell you the same thing ‑ you have to be in a very good shape. Physically I managed to play the last round without wasting too much energy, and as you know, it’s very important. The quicker that you’re off the court, the better.”
The 31-year-old Robredo had just won three straight matches from 0-2 down.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent ready to fight in the match,” said Robredo. “Playing a guy like David, who is a machine, it’s very tough. So there was no match today. I’m not sad about losing today. I just wish [that] I had managed to fight a bit more. It was very difficult, if not impossible.”
Both Tsonga and Ferrer have yet to drop a set all tournament.
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