>> Tuesday, June 5, 2012
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic, fresh from a comeback from two-sets down on his last match, will play the top player from France for a spot in the semi-finals of the 2012 French Open. Frenchman no. 5-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga didn't have it easy either in his previous match as he let a 2-0 lead slip away and had to come back the next day to finish his fourth round opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka, and will now play in his first ever French Open quarterfinal. Watch exciting tennis action from Roland Garros 2012 featuring Djokovic vs Tsonga live here.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was a mightily relieved man when he converted his second match point on Stanislav Wawrinska's serve to win 6-4, 7-6(6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4. The French fifth seed had come into the match carried over from last night with a 4-2 lead and lost the first game to relinquish his precious break. The Swiss then drew level at 4-4 and a potentially tight, drawn-out conclusion looked likely. No doubt annoyed at letting his lead slip, Tsonga had other ideas, running around his forehand to smash winners in the next two games and grasp victory from the valiant Wawrinka. Providing he makes full use of that devastating forehand in tomorrow's quarter-final, the Frenchman must have a (small) chance. Especially if Djokovic starts as sluggishly as he did against Andreas Seppi in the last round.
In Djokovic's last round, Italian Andreas Seppi had the world no. 1 against the ropes but failed to deliver a knockout punch and once he opened the door, the No. 1 raced through it and pulled off a 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 victory in a torturous four hours and 18 minutes. The Djokovic vs. Seppi contest was by no means pretty in windy conditions, but it was highly dramatic as the 28-year-old Italian outplayed the Serb from the backcourt in the first two sets and had chances in the last three sets to put his foot down. But if nothing else on the day, Djokovic was resilient, and in the final three sets played steely defense and mixed in some effective offensive charges in between. Victory was sealed after four hours, 18 minutes.
'Nole' did not dominate off his backhand side as he normally does, could not find a way to be super aggressive with his returns, or confidently outhit the Italian in crosscourt forehand rallies, but the experience he has gained in big matches over the past five years showed, as the five-time Grand Slam champion seized the majority of the big points. Djokovic used his strong legs, his sharp mind and big heart and clawed out a win with the wind whipping around Philippe Chatrier court.
"All the congratulations for his tournament and performance today," he said. " I think he was a better player for first two sets, definitely. I was very fortunate to come through to this match. I was fighting. When I was two sets down, I believed I could win the match, and I think that's the only positive I can really pick up from today's match."
It was only the third time that Djokovic had come from two sets down in his career, but he has now done it twice in the past nine months: against Rodger Federer in the 2011 US Open semifinals, and against Seppi today. The contest was simply about survival for Djokovic, who committed a whopping 77 unforced errors and struck only 45 winners. For his part, Seppi only nailed 43 winners and committed 81 unforced errors. Djokovic is under tremendous pressure in the tournament as he is attempting to become the first man since Aussie Rod Laver in 1969 to win four straight majors. He has not won a title on clay this season.
Djokovic vs Tsonga: Career Head-to-Head: Tied at 5-5
Year Tournament & City Surface Round Winner & Score
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome
Italy Clay Q Djokovic, Novak
7-5, 6-1 Stats
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris
France Hard Q Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada
Montreal, Canada Hard S Djokovic, Novak
6-4, 3-0 RET Stats
Great Britain Grass S Djokovic, Novak
7-6(4), 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-3 Stats
2010 Australian Open
Australia Hard Q Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
7-6(8), 6-7(5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami
FL, U.S.A. Hard Q Djokovic, Novak
6-3, 6-4 Stats
France Hard S Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
6-4, 7-6(1) Stats
2008 Tennis Masters Cup
China Hard RR Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
1-6, 7-5, 6-1 Stats
2008 ATP Masters Series Paris
France Hard R16 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
6-4, 1-6, 6-3 Stats
Thailand Hard F Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried
7-6(4), 6-4 Stats
2008 Australian Open
Australia Hard F Djokovic, Novak
4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(2) Stats
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