Well it’s going to be some semi-final. Tsonga, or Jo-Willy, blitzed the former Fedex in three sets that were not even close. While against Simon, Fed was able to raise his game, here Jo-Wilfred just kept on hammering away, breaking Fed twice in set three.
While Federer has a record of over the last 36 grand slams reaching the quarter-finals or better, only five of those occasions has he failed to get past the quarters. On two of those occasions he has now been beaten by Tsonga, the others twice by Berdych and once by Soderling. All are big hitting, high risk players. If their game comes off with few unforced errors they are extremely hard to beat by anyone but Federer seems to have had more problems with them than the other members of the top four in the last three years. Indeed all three sets felt a little like the last three in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2011, when Federer was beaten by Tsonga having been two sets up. Three sets in which, it seemed, Tsonga could do no wrong and Federer could not find an answer. Today there was no lifting of the Federer game in the way he managed in the last round.
So Tsonga goes on to meet David Ferrer, who is quietly cruising through the draw. Today he met his countryman, Tommy Robredo and dispatched him with ease, 6-2 6-1 6-1. Ferrer realises that he’s also going to have the crowd against him – “I think it’s quite normal [that] the crowd is going to be supporting Jo,” said Ferrer. “He’s French and I am very happy he’s made it that far. I’ll do everything I can to make it to the final. I have to remain focused.”
Of course Jo-Wilfred is so amazingly popular and continually seems to play with a smile on his face, that even someone as popular as Federer will have the crowd against him. While watching Jo play Djokovic last year one of my kids mused that he was so popular that even Novak’s coach was cheering him on!
And so to the women – Serena advanced but with a hiccup, losing the second set to the experienced Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kuznetsova was rolled over in the first set and using her experience she took a time-out – a visit to the bathroom. Unusual so early in a match but it worked, quickly rolling off the next four games and winning the second 6-3. What had threatened to be over quickly turned in to a classic, with two experienced campaigners raising their games and Serena running out the eventual winner, 6-3 in the third.
In the other ladies quarter-final played today, the pocket sized and purposeful Sara Errani, came through 6-4 7-6. At 3-1 down in the second it looked like Errani might be taken the distance but she battled back and took the match on the tie-break to set up another ‘little and large’ battle in the semis against Serena.