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French Open 2015 Day 10: Federer stunned by red hot Stan

Roger Federer chips a backhand
by Alex Sharp
Tuesday 2 June 2015

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the tenth day of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros as players searched for a path into the semi-finals.

Federer ousted

Roger Federer has enjoyed a handsome record against his countryman Stan Wawrinka, leading until today 16-2 in their head-to-head, and never losing to the world No.8 at a Grand Slam.

However armed by his thunderous backhand, Wawrinka dismantled Federer on Suzanne Lenglen with the 17-time Grand Slam champion stuck for answers.

Wawrinka dealt with the blustery conditions in the first two sets, cutting through the wind with flat, aggressive shots and regularly picked off Federer at the net.

The force of the winners flying off Wawrinka’s racket was causing gasps from the crowd as Federer desperately searched for the right formulas.

The Swiss no.2 broke his Davis Cup team-mate in the third game and cruised to the opener. A succession of piercing winners and scooping passing shots fired Wawrinka to a second set break at 3-3 before breaking a misfiring Federer to lead 6-4, 6-3.

In the third Federer clung on with Wawrinka maintaining his high standard and continued to chase the lines with explosive groundstrokes.

Federer forced a tie-break and felt a point should have been replayed after mishitting following an incorrect line-call. However his wishes were not granted and Wawrinka ceased his moment to close out a famous victory, reaching the semi-finals in the Paris for the first time.

"The wind was tough, and it's even more impressive the way Stan was able to play," said Federer. “It's a combination of many things where it didn't go well, but mostly it's because of Stan's quality of shot making.”

“it's quite clear what I have to do when it's conditions like that and when I play Roger.  I need to play really heavy.  I know that when I play good tennis, when I play my best tennis, I can play so heavy from both sides that it's really tough for the opponent to play,” added Wawrinka.

“That's why Roger was struggling today.  It's because I was playing so well.  I'm really proud for the match I did today, especially in three sets.”

The end score: 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)

French delight

It must be hard enough containing your emotions playing in front of an ardent and vocal home support on the Philippe Chatrier.

Home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga not only had to deal with facing world No.5 Kei Nishikori for a place in his second Roland Garros semi-final, he also had to deal with a significant delay to play.

Part of the scoreboard fell from Chatrier onto the crowd during the second set, with Tsonga in a commanding position of 6-1, 5-3, before three fans had to be treated and escorted out of the stadium.

Fortunately nobody was severely hurt and the tennis ensued but the incident certainly halted his momentum.

“Yeh it changed the match a lot,” reflected Tsonga. “It meant Kei could chat with his coach and he came out with a different purpose and played a lot better.”

Tsonga had burst out of the blocks at the start, muscling the ball past Nishikori to break at the first opportunity. In fact, he just lost three points on first serve to claim the opener 6-1.

A disgruntled Nishikori tried out powering, attempted moving the towering Frenchman, but nothing would consistently work, with Tsonga breaking early again with pounding winners.

After the delay Tsonga held on to take the second 6-4 however Nishikori began to find the lines and his execution on the rise was simply stunning.

The Philippe Chatrier crowd began to freeze with Japan’s top player dictating play and strolling to 6-4, 6-3 to force a decider.

The Parisan crowd found their voice once again, which conveniently coincided with Tsonga finding his rhythm again. At 2-1 in the fifth set he pinned Nishikori to the baseline and drew the errors to break.

As anticipation surged through the stadium, Tsonga managed to keep his cool and utilised his blistering serve.

Nishikori sent a final backhand long and an elated Tsonga dropped to his knees before etching ‘Roland Je T’aime’ into the hallowed clay before soaking up the cacophony of applause.

Remarkably that was Tsonga’s first back-to-back victories against top five seeds at a Grand Slam and his reward is a semi-final clash with Stan Wawrinka on Friday.

"Well, these six (Grand Slam) semis, well, that's wonderful, but I have not yet won it. The good thing would be to win one day," added Tsonga. "The earlier I can do this ‑‑ well, if this happens, the earlier the better, because then it will do me a lot of good."

Ivanovic keeps on running

2008 champion Ana Ivanovic reached her first Grand Slam semi-final since her Paris triumph courtesy of a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

The seventh seed played aggressively from the outset in testing conditions and compensated for numerous errors with a barrage of 37 winners to remain undefeated against her 20-year-old opponent.

Ivanovic kicked off proceedings with a double fault and was broken but was brave on the crucial points, to save three out of four break points in the opener.

Svitlona had no answer to the onslaught of attacking tennis, meaning Ivanovic will face Maria Sharapova’s conqueror Lucie Safarova on Thursday.

The Czech moved into the top 10 for the first time having dispatched Garbine Muguruza 7-6(3), 6-3 on Suzanne Lenglen with a clinical display and is yet to drop a set this championship.

Her Spanish opponent survived a gruelling ten minute seventh game in the opening set to force a tie-break but once again Safarova managed to find precise winners in pivotal moments to snatch the advantage.

Now a set up, Safarova was displaying a classy all-court game and achieved a crucial break in the sixth game of the second set, never looking back towards her maiden semi-final in Paris.

"It's hard to explain my feelings....wow! I am excited and ready to face Ana," said Safarova.

Stat of the day

World No.2 Roger Federer failed to break an opponent’s serve during a Grand Slam match for the first time since 2002 at the Us Open.

Pick of the quotes

Federer was full of praise for his countryman, “It's just nice for him now, even talking for him, to string it together on a big occasion like this at the French where I always thought he'd have his best chance to do well.”

“I was like always really, really nervous when I play Roger, especially in big moment like in quarterfinal of Grand Slams. I wasn't really feeling good this morning and before the match, but I also know that's when I play my best game, in general, because I'm so focused in that I have no choice to play well,” said a satisfied Wawrinka.

“It's been a long road and a lot of hard work, but it paid off. I am one happy girl!” – Ivanovic delighted to be back in the final four of a Grand Slam.

“I'm already think what I'm going to do the next few days, because Wimbledon is going to be a big goal for the season.  That's where I want to play my best,” claimed Federer.

“Very proud.  Yeah, it's not easy because you have so many emotions going on from yesterday.  I couldn't really fall asleep yesterday evening, and then I wake up so early.  But, yeah, the will to win and to be in the semi-finals was so big that once I stepped on the court I was just fighting and playing really well.” – Safarova overcame fatigue to reach the final four.

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