PARIS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sent Roger Federer crashing out of the French Open quarterfinals yesterday to take a step closer to ending France’s 30-year wait for a men’s champion at Roland Garros.
Sixth-seed Tsonga swept to a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 triumph to reach his first semifinal in Paris and first by a home player since Gael Monfils in 2008.
The 28-year-old will tackle Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer for a place in Sunday’s final.
Victory also helped wipe out the misery of his quarterfinal in Paris last year where he had four match points over Novak Djokovic and lost in five sets.
“It’s extraordinary to be here and to have won,” said Tsonga, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Yannick Noah, France’s last men’s champion in Paris in 1983.
“I never dreamt of this moment. Today was my moment against a champion who has won everything.
“I didn’t think I would get this far without losing a set. But Ferrer has not lost a set as well, he’s in great form.” Federer, in his 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal, was bidding to win a record 58th career match at Roland Garros and reach his 34th semi-final at a major.
Ferrer reached the semifinals for the second successive year with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over compatriot Tommy Robredo.
Ferrer won in just one hour and 35 minutes to lift his series to seven wins for two losses against his 32nd-ranked rival as the 31-year-old continued a fine run of form which has seen him reach the last four without dropping a set.
Robredo, also 31, had by contrast spent five hours more on court — including three consecutive five-setters — as he missed out on a first appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final.
Robredo, playing in his fifth Roland Garros quarter-final, reached the last eight by becoming the first man since Henri Cochet at Wimbledon in 1927 to win three successive rounds from two sets to love down.
Serena on course
World No. 1 Serena Williams revealed a sweet-toothed recipe is aiding her quest for a first French Open crown in 11 years after reaching the semifinals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Her secret? Chocolate and macaroons.
The 31-year-old laughed as she contemplated a first appearance in the last four at Roland Garros since 2003, since when she has endured four quarterfinal exits and also a first round humiliation 12 months ago.
Asked the reason behind her renaissance on the slow red clay she said: “I guess (I’m) pretty fit. I had some chocolate yesterday. And the day before — and the day before and the day before.
“I usually don’t like chocolate. For whatever reason I wanted some chocolate with caramel. Then I wanted a macaroon. That’s my weakness, macaroons. And I love chips.” Victory extended Williams’ winning streak to 29 matches as she moved into a semifinal clash against Italian fifth seed Sara Errani, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova last year.
Errani reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win over Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.