Federer of Switzerland celebrates beating Tsonga of France to advance to the semifinals at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Picture - Reuters.
World number three Roger Federer set up a semifinal meeting against top seed Novak Djokovic with a straight-sets win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.
After two successive defeats to Tsonga, one of which was in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in June, some had suggested that the Frenchman could block the Swiss for a third time. However, there was none of the explosiveness he displayed during their previous two matches, while Fed seemed to be enjoying himself.
It didn't take long, an hour and 53 minutes to be precise, as the five-time champion strolled to a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win.
Due to rain delays, the fixture, supposed to be played on Wednesday, had to be postponed. And rain played its part in the match yet again as it interrupted proceedings. On resumption, Federer dropped serve at 3-2, but managed to fight back and take the set against a Frenchman who was lacking his usual exuberance and lung-busting winners.
It makes way for a mouth-watering match-up as the 30-year-old Federer prepares to battle against world number one Djokovic in the semis - a rematch of last year's semifinals, an exhilarating five-setter which the Serb won. More recently, however, in the French Open, it was Federer who stomped to a four-set win on the way to the final, snapping the Serb's winning streak and preventing him claiming the world record.
After defeating Tsonga, Federer revealed that he was pleased with his own display.
I played great, said Federer. For me it continues, and that is awesome. I'm very happy with the way I'm playing, the way I'm moving and I'm enjoying myself on the court.
In the other quarterfinal (only two were played as the bottom half of the men's draw has been delayed due to rain) Djokovic was adjudged the victor after fellow-Serb Janko Tipsarevic retired with a leg-injury.
The world number one didn't look at his best, and was given a torrid time from his fellow-countryman. On one occasion, he allowed Tipsarevic to fight back from 5-2 down and serve for the first set although he did manage to level scores and push it into a tie-breaker in which he strolled.
The second set went down to a tie-breaker too, with Tipsarevic leveling at one-set all.
However, Djokovic came powering back in the third although Tipsarevic did require treatment for an injury to his leg. Djokovic also needed medical attention due to a bleeding toe. Eventually, it was Tipsarevic who retired hurt at 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (3-7) 6-0 3-0.
My left toe is bleeding, said Djokovic afterwards. These things happen all the time when you're sliding like I do.
Elsewhere, world number two Rafael Nadal and British number one Andy Murray made it to the quarterfinals, after winning their respective matches in the delayed bottom half of the draw.
The defending champion Nadal beat Gilles Muller in their fourth-round match, which resumed at 3-0 to Muller after play had been abandoned on Wednesday due to rain.
Nadal had complained about being made to play in the slippery courts on Wednesday, with players managing only 15 minutes of play before rain interrupted. It was a highly focused Nadal who resumed on Thursday though. Eventually, he powered to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 6-2 victory.
Afterwards, he refocused his attention on the issues hanging over the tournament.
When invited to speak about issue, he said: That's not fair, but that's what it is. Here in the Grand Slams, if I am in the position of the US Open or Wimbledon or Australia, Roland Garros, I will do the same. Why not?
Nadal will now face local-favourite Andy Roddick, after the 2003 champion secured an exciting 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over fifth seed David Ferrer.
I enjoyed it, said the 29-year-old American afterwards. I like playing kind of the smaller, more intimate stuff when I can. It was a little bit of everything.
Earlier, fourth seed Andy Murray started off an action-packed day at Flushing Meadows with a 6-2 6-3 6-3 win over Donald Young. He will now face American John Isner in the quarterfinals after he beat Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) in what proved to be a thriller.