In­spired Tsonga too good for Fed­erer

TEN­NIS

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS -

ROGER Fed­erer was elim­i­nated in the Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nals for the sec­ond straight year yes­ter­day, squan­der­ing a two-set lead for the first time at a grand slam tour­na­ment and los­ing to JoWil­fried Tsonga 3- 6, 6-7 (3), 6- 4, 6- 4, 6- 4.

The six-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion barely looked chal­lenged while win­ning the first two sets against the 12th-seeded French­man. But Fed­erer, who had been 178- 0 in matches in which he had won the open­ing two sets at a ma­jor tour­na­ment, was bro­ken one time in each of the last three sets.

“I was two sets down and I break. I did a good game of re­turn and af­ter that it was just amaz­ing,” Tsonga said. “I just played un­be­liev­able, served un­be­liev­able and now I’m here, I’m in semi­fi­nal and I can’t be­lieve it.”

In the next round, Tsonga will face sec­ond- seeded No­vak Djokovic, who de­feated 18-year- old Aus­tralian qual­i­fier Bernard Tomic 6-2, 3- 6, 6-3, 7-5.

Fed­erer was seek­ing a record- equal­ing sev­enth Wim­ble­don ti­tle this year. He breezed through his open­ing four matches, los­ing only one set, and played his usual el­e­gant game against Tsonga.

In the first set, Fed­erer earned his one and only break point of the match in Tsonga’s first ser­vice game, and con­verted it. He held the rest of the way, and then won the sec­ond set in the tiebreaker.

But Tsonga fi­nally got his first break in the third set, and an­other in the fourth and an­other in the fifth.

Those were the French­man’s only three breaks, and they were just the amount he needed to send Fed­erer home early again.

“I played un­be­liev­able. Ev­ery­thing was in, you know,” said Tsonga, who had 63 win­ners and only 22 un­forced er­rors. “It’s never easy to play against Roger.”

Later yes­ter­day, de­fend­ing cham­pion Rafael Nadal was play­ing Mardy Fish, while No. 4 Andy Mur­ray was sched­uled to take on Feli­ciano Lopez on Cen­tre Court.

Fed­erer has won six ti­tles at the All Eng­land Club, in­clud­ing five in a row from 2003- 07. He lost to Nadal in the 2008 fi­nal in what is con­sid­ered by many to be one of the great­est matches ever, and then beat Andy Rod­dick for the cham­pi­onship a year later, win­ning 16-14 in the fifth set. Last year, he lost to even­tual run­ner-up To­mas Berdych in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

“It’s the big­gest cham­pion in my sport,” Tsonga said. “He achieved a lot of things and he’s just the best player in the world and I’m just so happy to win against him, es­pe­cially on grass be­cause it’s maybe one of his fa­vorite sur­face and I’m just so happy to­day.”

In an ear­lier match, a sub­dued Djokovic ended the dream Wim­ble­don run of 18-year- old Tomic with a 6-2, 3- 6, 6-3, 7-5 vic­tory in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

“I’m de­lighted to be through it’s a great re­sult but was a very even match,” Djokovic said. “I played very well to start with but I played one very bad ser­vice game and he got back into the match and from that mo­ment on he was the bet­ter player.

“I had some very, very dif­fi­cult serve games which I man­aged to hold.”

The Ser­bian sec­ond seed, bid­ding for his first Wim­ble­don ti­tle and the world No. 1 rank­ing, cruised through the open­ing set.

Qual­i­fier Tomic grew in con­fi­dence though and us­ing his pa­tient and del­i­cate ground­strokes to frus­trate the Serb, he took the sec­ond and opened up a 3-1 lead in the third. Djokovic had strug­gled to deal with the low, slow sliced back­hands of Tomic but was stunned into ac­tion and reeled off seven games in a row to take com­mand.

Tomic, the youngest man to reach the Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nals since Boris Becker in 1986, made a string of ba­sic er­rors but out of the blue he hit back in the fourth set, whip­ping a fe­ro­cious fore­hand down the line to seal an­other break.

Djokovic fell heav­ily at 4-5 and strug­gled to hold his serve but an ex­quis­ite drop shot in the next game set up an­other break.

The 24-year-old Serb re­dis­cov­ered his con­sis­tency and earned him­self two match points in the next game, the first of which he con­verted when Tomic net­ted a ground­stroke.

“He is a very un­pre­dictable player and has never been in a grand slam quar­ter­fi­nal be­fore and he had noth­ing to lose and was hit­ting a lot of win­ners and I couldn’t pre­dict where he was go­ing,” Djokovic said.

Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga of France leaps to hit a re­turn to Roger Fed­erer of Switzer­land dur­ing their quar­ter­fi­nals at Wim­ble­don yes­ter­day. Right: Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic ( left) shakes hands af­ter de­feat­ing Aus­tralia’s Bernard Tomic in an­other quar­ter­fi­nal yes­ter­day. — AP/ Reuters

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