x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Tsonga makes grass king Federer bite the dust at Wimbledon

The six-time champion loses his way from two sets up for first time in a grand slam but Nadal, Murray and Djokovic marh into the semi-finals.

Roger Federer was denied a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title to level with Pete Sampras.
Roger Federer was denied a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title to level with Pete Sampras.

LONDON // Roger Federer suffered his second straight Wimbledon quarter-final exit when an extraordinary comeback by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga condemned the Swiss to a shock 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat today.

The third seed's defeat was the first time he has lost a grand slam match having been two sets up.

"It was just amazing today, I played unbelievable, everything was in," Tsonga said in a televised interview.

"That's crazy, he is the biggest champion in my sport, he achieved a lot of things. He is the best player in the world and I'm just so happy to beat him, especially on grass as it is one of his best surfaces."

Defending champion Rafael Nadal also advanced, beating Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The two-time champion will face fourth-seeded Andy Murray, who defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Federer, who had been bidding for a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title, glided through the first set and never looked in danger in the second set or tiebreak as Tsonga made some sloppy, nervous errors.

However, the 12th seed soon found his groove with his immense energy and athleticism suddenly worrying Federer.

Tsonga broke for 2-1 in the third and fourth sets and held out thanks to some rasping groundstrokes and trademark volleys.

His raw power threatened to completely outmuscle the record 16-times grand slam champion, who failed to raise his game and slipped a break down at the start of the fifth set when he netted.

Federer could do nothing to halt Tsonga's momentum with the Frenchman laying into every stroke with all his might to reach a third grand slam semi and set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic.

Instead of Federer improving on his record haul of major titles, 10-time grand slam champion Nadal can add to his own.

The top-seeded Spaniard lost one set but did not appear to be bothered by the left foot he injured in his previous match against Juan Martin del Potro.

"Today it was better. The treatment worked and I'm fine. I'm here," Nadal said. "The previous match was tough for me because for a moment I didn't know if I had a serious injury, but since (it's) nothing important (it's) probably going to work."

Nadal will meet Murray, who is trying to become the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936. And against Lopez, he was never really bothered.

He saved the two break points he faced, both in the third set, and finished off the match by winning the final game at love.

"I've played a little bit better every year I've come here," said Murray, who is in the semifinals for the third straight year. "I want to go further."

Djokovic had to dig deep with a gritty 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over the Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic.

Djokovic was well below his best for long periods in a tense quarter-final clash on Court One, but the world No 2 showed all his battling qualities to finally subdue his teenage opponent for his fifth successive grand slam semi-final.

Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, arrived at Wimbledon last week with questions over his frame of mind as he prepared for his first tournament since his remarkable 43-match winning run was brought to an end by Federer at the French Open.

But the 24-year-old, who lost in the semi-finals here in 2007 and 2010, will take over from Rafael Nadal as world No 1 if he can reach his first final at the All England Club.

Tomic has practised with Djokovic regularly since the pair met an exhibition match in Australia last year and he admitted this week that his friend thrashed him in one-set match on the training court before Wimbledon.