Wednesday 29 June 2011

Wimblemund 2011, day 9

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt. Roger Federer 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Roger Federer is such a remarkable player that his exit from a Grand Slam tennis tournament tends to make the news headlines, rather than just the sports news headlines. But even by those standards today was fairly remarkable. It was the first time Federer had ever lost from two sets in front in Grand Slam play, and only the third time it's ever happened in his senior career.

The odd thing is I'm not really sure how it happened. He was serving with an efficiency which could have made Pete Sampras in his pomp get an inferiority complex, and yet was broken once in every one of the final three sets. Aside from taking a 3-0 lead in the first 4 minutes of the first set, Tsonga was toe-to-toe with Federer all the way and when it came to the crunch he just seemed more animated and to have more desire. Roger Federer didn't break Tsonga's service once in the match.

Federer will be back at Wimbledon, I'm sure. He's not 30 until August, plus next year sees the Olympic tennis title he so covets being decided at his beloved All England Club - a potent combination. Whether he'll ever be the force he once was in SW19 is another matter, but one thing you can never take away from him is that he made everyone who watched him catch their breath.

Tsonga will now face Novak Djokovic, a man in form so good that if he were a bluesman you'd think he'd been to the crossroads. The winner of that will play Andy Murray - the only semi-finalist of the four to not drop a set today - or Rafael Nadal. Nadal leads Murray 11-4 in head to head play (including a win over the Scot in the semis here last year) and hasn't lost a match at Wimbledon since the 2007 Final, but is troubled with a foot injury. Any one of these four men would be a very deserving Wimbledon champion, so Friday's and Sunday's matches will hopefully prove very exciting.

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