This semifinal may be overlooked, but both are in very good form coming in and if they show the same high level of tennis this could be an epic 4 or 5 setter that can compete for the match of the tournament.
Both will be looking to make only their second Grand Slam final. And while Stan The Man succeeded while getting there by defeating Nadal in 2014 Australian Open, Tsonga dropped a 4 set decision to Novak Djokovic 7 years ago in the same tournament.
Has been long time coming for the Frenchman as he missed significant time with a persisting arm injury that postponed his start of the season, missing the Aussie Open and Indian Wells.
His clay preparation didn’t go as planned either with losses to Granollers and Goffin but all fell into place in his home country. Having already taken out Tomas Berdych with good power hitting and precision, he continued with taking out Kei Nisihikori in a 5 set battle. Worth to mention that the Japanese player didn’t play well at all in the first 2 sets, not making 1 winner from his backhand which is his favourite shot. Although Kei found himself in set 3 and 4, Tsonga did a lot to push him with power and accuracy and finished him in 5 sets. He has told reporters that he has no pressure on him as he wasn’t supposed to be this deep in the tournament and this is all on Stan’s shoulders.
Wawrinka has been inconsistent to say the least coming into Paris, but he has been unstoppable so far this year. With only one bummer, dropping a set to Dusan Lajovic he has been clinical with his performance and has fired in all departments. The culmination so far came with the straight set victory over compatriot Roger Federer, coming in with a 2-16 H2H.
“In tennis, always one guy has to win and one guy has to lose,” Federer said “For him, it’s obviously great to be in the semis now. I thought he played really good tennis out there today.”
“We know he can do this,” he said. “It’s just nice for him now, even talking for him, to string it together on a big occasion like this at the French [Open] where I always thought he’d have his best chance to do well.
“The Australian [Open] was a surprise for many, but the French people always thought this is where he would get closer to winning, potentially.”
“I’m really happy about the result today. I always feel nervous when I play against Roger, especially in Grand Slams.” – Wawrinka Said after the match. “Besides, I wasn’t feeling really well today, today morning. The conditions were also tough with the wind, and no one was happy about that.”
“I knew I needed to play really heavy, because when I play heavy, it is difficult to beat me. When I play my best tennis, I can play so heavy from both sides and that’s really tough for the opponent to play. That’s why Roger was struggling today. It’s because I was playing really well. I’m really proud of what I did today,” Wawrinka said.
“I was so confident against Roger today. Given the conditions out there today with the wind, I knew that the one who hesitates will have a problem. The ball was also heavy, which was advantageous for me.”
“It’s better for my game. I can be 25 metres behind and still put so much power that he really can’t control what he wants to do.”
“Today I’m just happy. Still I’m surprised that I could beat Roger in three sets and the way I did, but it’s a great feeling.”
With h2h tied at 3 and so much at stake, it will be really interesting to see how Stan will fare in his first match on Chatrier with the distraction of the crowd. Stan was the victor against Tsonga in a Davis Cup tie at this venue last year, and there appears to be a lot to like about his chances here.
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