Tsonga thrashes Federer to keep home fire burning

ECSTATIC Jo-Wilfred Tsonga admitted to surpassing his wildest dreams after defeating former world No1 Roger Federer in straight sets yesterday to keep alive his hopes of becoming the first home French Open champion for 30 years.

The Frenchman took less than two hours to join Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as the only men with victories in straight sets over Federer at a Grand Slam in nine years.

“It’s extraordinary to be here and to have won,” said Tsonga, after reaching his first ever Roland Garros semi-final 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. “I never dreamt of this moment. This was my moment against a champion who has won everything.”

Tsonga had only three wins in 12 previous meetings with Federer, who admitted he had been outplayed by his hard-serving opponent and friend.

“He can serve his way out of trouble at times, and I think as well he was just better in all areas,” said Federer.

“I’m pretty sad about the match and the way I played.”

In the Paris heat, Tsonga took full advantage of Federer’s errors to secure the first set, and swiftly went 3-0 up in the second.

Federer’s forehand earned a break in the third but, spurred on by the home crowd, Tsonga replied with two breaks of his own and deservedly raised his hand in acknowledgement of a landmark victory.

The sixth seed will now meet Spaniard David Ferrer, who sailed past compatriot Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 and is also yet to drop a set this year at Roland Garros.

The women’s quarter-finals saw top seed Serena Williams survive a scare against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the last four 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

She will face fifth seed Sara Errani, who overcame Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6.