Roger Federer suffered his second straight Wimbledon quarterfinal exit when an extraordinary comeback by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga condemned the Swiss to a shock 3-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat on Wednesday.
The third seed’s defeat was the first time he has lost a grand slam match having been two sets up.
“It was just amazing today, I played unbelievable, everything was in,” Tsonga said in a televised interview.
“That’s crazy, he is the biggest champion in my sport, he achieved a lot of things. He is the best player in the world and I’m just so happy to beat him, especially on grass as it is one of his best surfaces.”
Federer, who had been bidding for a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title, glided through the first set and never looked in danger in the second set or tiebreak as Tsonga made some sloppy, nervous errors.
However, the 12th seed soon found his groove with his immense energy and athleticism suddenly worrying Federer.
Tsonga broke for 2-1 in the third and fourth sets and held out thanks to some rasping groundstrokes and trademark volleys.
His raw power threatened to completely outmuscle the record 16-times grand slam champion, who failed to raise his game and slipped a break down at the start of the fifth set when he netted.
Federer could do nothing to halt Tsonga’s momentum with the Frenchman laying into every stroke with all his might to reach a third grand slam semi and set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic on Friday.
Novak Djokovic overcame his protege at Wimbledon earlier on Wednesday, holding on to reach the semifinals for the third time in his career with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over 18-year-old Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic.
Djokovic has been practicing with Tomic on-and-off since the two became friends last year in Australia, but this was the first meeting between the two in a competitive match.
After Tomic put a forehand into the net on match point, the pair had a brief chat at the net. Then, with the crowd applauding, Djokovic did the same while motioning toward Tomic.
At the start on court one, Djokovic appeared to have little to worry about, rolling through the first set and on his way to a fifth straight major semifinal. But Tomic didn’t quit, instead breaking Djokovic to take a 3-1 lead in the second set and eventually evening the match.
Tomic again went up a break in the third, but that’s when Djokovic got going. The two-time Grand Slam champion won five straight games to take the third set, and then won the first two games in the fourth. Although Tomic got back on serve at 2-2 and was two points from winning the set at 5-4, Djokovic soon broke to take a 6-5 lead and held for victory.
Djokovic started the 2011 season by winning 41 straight matches, but that came to an end with a loss to Federer in the French Open semifinals. If the Serb reaches the final at the All England Club for the first time this year, he will guarantee himself the No. 1 ranking. He can also claim the top ranking if Nadal fails to defend his title.
Tomic was the youngest man to start in the men’s draw this year, and he’s the youngest to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Boris Becker defended his title in 1986. — Reuters, Sapa-AP