France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts after a point against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka during their men's semi-final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 5, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA
France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reacts after a point against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka during their men's semi-final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

­­Outlasts Tsonga to reach Paris final for the first time

Paris : Stan Wawrinka shattered French hopes of a first men’s singles champion in 32 years when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 in the first of the semi-finals.

It was a consummate performance from the Swiss stylist and he will harbour high hopes of taking a second Grand Slam title on Sunday.

The 2014 Australian Open winner reached the final in Paris for the first time having lost just two sets along the way. For Tsonga, the dream of emulating Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros in 1983, was over for another year. The last Frenchman to reach the final was Henri Leconte in 1988.

“It was a huge battle, very difficult physically, a lot of intensity on both sides and it could have gone either way,” Wawrinka said. “He had chances to break me in the third set, but he had a great tournament and deserves just as much as me to be in the final.”

The semi-finalists, both aged 30, had met twice before at Roland Garros, each winning in five sets, but their most recent encounter was a superb four sets Davis Cup final win for Wawrinka in November. That sent Tsonga’s form into a tailspin made all the worse by a bad wrist injury that sidelined him until March.

But Roland Garros saw him back to near his best, defeating fourth seed Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori to reach the semis for the second time.

Wawrinka, a straight-sets winner over countryman Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, struck first, clawing his way back from 0-40 down to break Tsonga’s serve for a first time in the fourth game. That was enough to give him the first set on a baking hot day which saw the temperature nudging above 30 degrees. The Swiss eighth seed was clearly on top and he broke again to start the second set.

Wawrinka’s first serve was regularly in the 210-215 kph range and that, coupled with the fast, bouncy conditions, left Tsonga struggling to cope. But the Frenchman was finally given a look in when Wawrinka twice double-faulted in the eighth game and he took full advantage to level the set scores when Wawrinka shanked a forehand wide.

Both men were looking leg-weary as the semi-final nudged up to three and a half hours in hot and humid conditions and Wawrinka failed to take a succession of break points that would have put him 5-2 up.

In the end though he did not need the extra break as back-to-back service holds saw him through to the championship match for the first time in what is his 11th campaign at Roland Garros. —AFP

Stan Wawrinka shattered French hopes of a first men’s singles champion in 32 years when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 in the first of the semi-finals.

It was a consummate performance from the Swiss stylist and he will harbour high hopes of taking a second Grand Slam title on Sunday.

The 2014 Australian Open winner reached the final in Paris for the first time having lost just two sets along the way. For Tsonga, the dream of emulating Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros in 1983, was over for another year. The last Frenchman to reach the final was Henri Leconte in 1988.

“It was a huge battle, very difficult physically, a lot of intensity on both sides and it could have gone either way,” Wawrinka said. “He had chances to break me in the third set, but he had a great tournament and deserves just as much as me to be in the final.”

The semi-finalists, both aged 30, had met twice before at Roland Garros, each winning in five sets, but their most recent encounter was a superb four sets Davis Cup final win for Wawrinka in November. That sent Tsonga’s form into a tailspin made all the worse by a bad wrist injury that sidelined him until March.

But Roland Garros saw him back to near his best, defeating fourth seed Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori to reach the semis for the second time.

Wawrinka, a straight-sets winner over countryman Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, struck first, clawing his way back from 0-40 down to break Tsonga’s serve for a first time in the fourth game. That was enough to give him the first set on a baking hot day which saw the temperature nudging above 30 degrees. The Swiss eighth seed was clearly on top and he broke again to start the second set.

Wawrinka’s first serve was regularly in the 210-215 kph range and that, coupled with the fast, bouncy conditions, left Tsonga struggling to cope. But the Frenchman was finally given a look in when Wawrinka twice double-faulted in the eighth game and he took full advantage to level the set scores when Wawrinka shanked a forehand wide.

Both men were looking leg-weary as the semi-final nudged up to three and a half hours in hot and humid conditions and Wawrinka failed to take a succession of break points that would have put him 5-2 up.

In the end though he did not need the extra break as back-to-back service holds saw him through to the championship match for the first time in what is his 11th campaign at Roland Garros. —AFP

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