Tsonga defies history and reaches the quarter-finals of Roland Garros

June 4, 2012

ATP Tennis News

By Lisa-Marie Burrows

Thankfully for Tsonga it was not a case of deja vu against Wawrinka. (Photo courtesy of FFT)

Roland Garros, Paris – Jo Wilfried Tsonga had all night to worry, think and hope that a case of déjà vu would not occur on court again after his five-set defeat last year against Stanislas Wawrinka despite being two-sets up.  As the light faded on the courts of Paris yesterday evening, the home crowd favourite found himself in a worryingly similar situation.  Despite admitting he was nervous about the continuation of the match, Tsonga eventually defeated the Swiss 6-4, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 under a cloud-covered sky.

The players took to court to resume the over night situation and Tsonga was 4-2 up against the Swiss.  Wawrinka fought back and broke the Frenchman and all seemed to be back on an even keel. The match was there for the taking and Tsonga was determined to defy history and not allow a repetition with the same outcome of his match last year against Wawrinka – the only time he has ever lost a match after a two-set lead.

Tsonga held his nerve, fought his demons and with quick thinking and quick feet, an electrifying backhand passing shot set up match point for the Frenchman.  After throwing himself, his desperation and determination into a heavily-weighted forehand, Tsonga could not believe he had survived against Wawrinka’s epic comeback and in a scene of emotional events, Tsonga raised his arms to the sky with a big smile on his face, ran to the net to hug Wawrinka and shortly after fell to his knees with his head in his hands before regaining his composure for his routine Tsonga celebration…

It was a huge moment for Tsonga and one that may strive to help him in the future during times of tribulation on court.  He can now rest assured knowing he avenged the loss of 2011.

In his on-court interview with Cedric Pioline the smiley Frenchman was relieved to have come through that battle:

“I am relieved it is over.  I had more energy spent in four games today than I did in 5 sets yesterday.  I came out today and I thought ‘Oooh this is going to be tricky.’ I didn’t have a good feel on the racquet this morning and he broke back right at the beginning, first game.”

He continued:

 “At the end I got the passing shot and that wrapped it up. It’s not a question of tennis, you have got to keep your nerve, keep your speed and be clever because it’s very fast out here, but I managed to do it today.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the first Frenchman to reach all four quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in the open era, but now world No.1 Novak Djokovic awaits Tsonga tomorrow.

Tsonga was very emotional after progressing to the quarter-finals for the first time in his career. (Photo courtesy of FFT).

After the match, Tsonga spoke with John Inverdale and Fabrice Santoro about the match, click here.

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About Lisa-Marie Burrows

Lisa-Marie Burrows has a MA in Sports Broadcast Journalism and is a freelance sports journalist. She has covered many national and international tennis tournaments and has worked in Paris for Eurosport News channel. She is a member of the International Press Association and a journalist for its online magazine, IMPress. She has contributed articles for various leading websites including www.tennisgrandstand.com, www.worldtennismagazine.com, www.tennisbloggers.com, www.tennisscoop.co.uk and www.olympictennis.net. Lisa-Marie operates her tennis website www.tennisnewsviews.com where you can read her reports. She can be reached at lburrows@internationalpress.com or on Twitter @TennisNewsViews.

View all posts by Lisa-Marie Burrows

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