ROLAND GARROS, Paris
[CR2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [CR9] Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
It was quality tennis from both players from the first ball. Yet, Wawrinka had a slight edge coming into this match. Federer had to come back on court yesterday to finish his 4th round match against Gael Monfils. Although it was only two sets, it took a toll on his reserves. He was less sharp than usual at a major and that gave Wawrinka the advantage he needed. Wawrinka’s game is no longer hindered by excessive admiration and respect for Federer, now he knows that he can play with the best and at times, beat the best. The psychological advantage should have gone to Federer; however, today the physical advantage mattered more and Wawrinka would play some of the best tennis he has played in recent times to defeat Federer 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4).
Tsonga came out focused, striking the ball with conviction and confidence. It looked like it would be a surprisingly easy straight sets victory, until Tsonga stumbled. Suddenly, the momentum shifted as Tsonga began to think about what he was about to accomplish and got very tight. As he got tense, Nishikori relaxed and started going for his shots. Although Nishikori mounted some resistance in the 3rd and 4th sets, it was not enough to overcome the crowd and Tsonga’s determination. Tsonga suppressed the doubts in the 5th set and closed the door on any hopes Nishikori had of advancing to the semi-finals of another major. He defeated Nishikori 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 and keeps French hope alive.
Were these results surprising? Probably not as much if we take a few things into consideration. The French crowd was behind Tsonga, and he seems to have decided to make a committed effort to achieving his potential. Federer is not as young as he once was and three consecutive days of playing tennis at a major is draining, even as great as Federer is.