Roger Federer’s comeback this week ended at the hands to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who sent off the Swiss 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the semifinals at the Monte Carlo Open.
Federer was returning off knee surgery in February. He had won both matches this week in straight sets before letting things slip after the first set.
“Definitely had some twists and turns. I’m not sure how come. Maybe we were both a bit up and down. We had a couple of games here and there that we kind of gave each other on the serve,” said Federer. “Third was close all the way through. The game I got broken is a tough game to get broken on because I think I had three forehands that I’m in good position, and I end up losing all three points. It’s a tough break to get.
“It was a good tournament, a good match, exactly what I was hoping for and more, so I’m very happy.”
Tsonga earned his second straight win over Federer.
“It’s always special to win against Federer,” said Tsonga. “I’m in the semis. I’m happy that I’m still in the tournament and I have a chance to go to the final for the first time.
“I was expecting a difficult match, and that is exactly what happened. He was very reactive, he was running well. From the start, I thought he was very fast. But I was able to turn it around. He dropped his level a little bit and I was able to come back into the match and end up winning. It’s good for me.”
Tsonga will now face countryman Gael Monfils who was a straight set winner over Marcel Granollers.
Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal showed glimpses of his former self by crushing reigning French Open champion Stan Wawarinka 6-1, 6-4 for his best win of the season.
“The beginning of the match and the second set was a good match, in my opinion,” said Nadal. “We both played good points. I think he made more mistakes than me. But it is true at the same time he was going more for the shots all the time. When you want to play this way, very aggressive, you can have mistakes.
“I think I played good. I defended well. I moved well. When I had the opportunity, I was trying to have the control of the point with my forehand and with my backhand, too. I am very happy the way that I played.”
Wawrinka, who won Monte Carlo in 2014, still hasn’t beaten a Top 10 player this season.
“It was not a good day,” said Wawrinka. “We can say this. I rushed at the beginning. I wasn’t able to put my game into place. This is something you pay for against Rafa.
“I really need to work on two or three things that I want to improve. I have two weeks, or a bit more, before I go to Madrid. I will try to prepare well during that period.”
Nadal will move on to face rival Andy Murray in the semifinals tomorrow. The Scot had no trouble with the ailing Milos Raonic beating the Canadian 6-2, 6-0.
“It was really good today,” said Murray. “That’s why matches like yesterday are important. Obviously I didn’t play my best yesterday, or really in the first round either.
“But I fought right the way through. I got a chance today to play better, and I did. I played really well today. Served better. Obviously returned very well against a great server. It was one of my best matches for a while.”
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