Federer cut by inspired Tsonga

LONDON, (Reuters) – Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  shredded the Wimbledon script with a devastating fightback to  knock six-times champion Roger Federer out yesterday and  clinch a semi-final showdown against Novak Djokovic.

Federer’s unlikely 3-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4 capitulation on a  stunned Centre Court was the first time he had lost a grand slam  match from two sets up and meant there would be no repeat of the semi-final line-up at the French Open in which the  world’s leading quartet faced off.

The other usual suspects will be present although defending  champion Rafa Nadal had painkilling jabs to numb the pain of a  mystery foot injury before a 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4 defeat of American  Mardy Fish to set up a repeat of last year’s semi-final against  Briton Andy Murray.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Fourth seed Murray, who also lost to Nadal in the French  Open semis this month, outclassed unseeded Spaniard Feliciano  Lopez 6-3 6-4 6-4 to the delight of the Centre Court crowd  dreaming of a first British men’s singles winner for 75 years.

Djokovic, eyeing his first title at the grasscourt slam and  the world number one ranking, ended the dream run of Australian  teenager Bernard Tomic in a cat and mouse duel on Court One,  although the 24-year-old second seed was far from his best.

Federer’s defeat in the quarter-finals for the second  consecutive year came completely out of the blue.
The 29-year-old Swiss has been in sublime form during the  championships and was strongly fancied to win a seventh  Wimbledon title to match the feat of American Pete Sampras.

The first two sets resembled nothing more than a light  sparring session for Federer as he went through his silky  repertoire to build a commanding lead.
His title bid began to disintegrate, though, as Tsonga broke  in the fifth game to halt Federer’s momentum and he overpowered  the 16-times grand slam champion with a stunning display of  fearless tennis.

“I felt so good on the court. I was quick. I was just  perfect today,” Tsonga told reporters after only his second  comeback from a two-set deficit. “Every time I was feeling like  a dream.”

STRANGELY DISTANT
A strangely distant Federer seemed resigned to his fate as  Tsonga roared past him and he was sanguine despite a defeat that  raises question marks about his ability to add to his record  haul of major silverware.

Roger Federer

“Except the score, many many things went right,” Federer,  who played better than he did in last year’s quarter-final  defeat by Tomas Berdych, told reporters.

“I thought I played a good match myself. I’m actually pretty  pleased with my performance today. It’s kind of hard going out  of the tournament that way, but unfortunately it does happen  sometimes.”

For a player who won his first 41 matches of the year  Djokovic looked vulnerable against Australian upstart Tomic who  chipped away at the Serb’s confidence with clever play that made  a mockery of his 18 years.

After an understandably nervy start to his first grand slam  quarter-final he settled down and had plenty of chances to  produce another massive shock before Djokovic’s greater  experience helped him to a 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory.

Djokovic is now just one victory away from knocking Nadal  off the top of the rankings even if the Spaniard goes on to  retain his title.
“You can say that we had kind of waves throughout the whole  match where I played better in the first, nine, 10 games, then  he played better,” Djokovic, who reeled off seven games in a row  to regain control midway through a tricky tactical match, told  reporters.

Nadal must win the title to have any chance of remaining at  No.1 but rankings were last thing on his mind as he admitted the  foot that needed an MRI scan after his last-16 victory over Juan  Martin del Potro was worrying him.

“Very happy to be in semi-finals, first thing, but my foot  is not fine,” the 25-year-old told reporters after a relatively  comfortable win over the American number one.

“But we are in quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Is an emergency,  so I had to play,” added Nadal, who said the anaesthetic had  numbed his foot for five hours.

“I am not scared because I know I have to try my best for  the rest of the tournament. That’s what I gonna do. And I’m  ready to play.”
The All England Club was again full to capacity long before  play started as fans flocked in, thousands of them heading to  watch Murray take on Lopez on the giant screen beside the grass  bank nicknamed Henman Hill.

Left-hander Lopez was the last player to beat former British  No.1 and three-times semi-finalist Tim Henman at Wimbledon but  he was never in with a chance of ending world number four  Murray’s hopes.

The women return to the spotlight today when Maria  Sharapova takes on Germany’s Sabine Lisicki in the semi-finals  and Petra Kvitova plays Victoria Azarenka.

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