Tennis: Federer beats Tsonga to cap chaotic day at Open

AP, Friday 9 Sep 2011

Roger Federer got another chance at Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a Grand Slam quarterfinal _ and beat him. Now Novak Djokovic gets another shot at Federer

Roger Federer

Federer reached his eighth consecutive semifinal at the U.S. Open by beating Frenchman Tsonga 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday night in a match delayed about 1 1/2 hours by rain in the first set.

At Wimbledon in late June, Tsonga upset 16-time major champion Federer in the quarterfinals after dropping the first two sets. Until that loss, Federer was unbeaten in 178 matches when taking a two-set lead in a Grand Slam match.

"It's true, the Wimbledon match does come back into your mind, especially when he's got break point in the third, and you're wondering if it will be like Wimbledon," Federer said. "But I was able to come out of that one." Now Federer faces top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the U.S.

Open semifinals, the fifth straight year they will play in New York. Federer holds a 3-1 edge.

In their most recent head-to-head meeting, in this year's French Open semifinals, Federer ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak.

"I don't know how much Paris is going to help me or help him. It was just one of those great matches of the year. It was special in the moment itself. I hope it's something similar," Federer said, looking ahead to Saturday's semifinals.

Djokovic advanced to the semifinals after Serbian Davis Cup teammate Janko Tipsarevic retired while trailing 7-6 (2), 6-7 (3), 6-0, 3-0.

Djokovic has reached his sixth consecutive major semifinal and improves to 62 wins from 64 matches in 2011. No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic had his left hamstring bandaged by a trainer at 5-0 in the third set, before later deciding he couldn't finish.

Djokovic needed his own visit from the trainer for treatment on a bloody left big toe after sliding to get to a drop shot in the fourth set's opening game. They're good friends and met for a long hug at the net when Tipsarevic conceded; he said he told Djokovic he was sorry for stopping.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and John Isner all won their fourth-round matches to reach the quarterfinals.

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur and Angelique Kerber filled the four spots in the women's semifinals.

Because of showers earlier this week, the U.S. Tennis Association extended the tournament, delaying the men's final by 24 hours to Monday. The women's final was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday.

"It's the fourth final in a row we're playing on a Monday," Federer said. "I don't think the Super Saturday, the Saturday-Sunday thing is working anymore." Federer was refering to the USTA's long-held tradition of playing the men's semifinals and women's final on Saturday, then following with a men's final Sunday _ a grueling schedule that leaves no cushion in case of rain or other delays.

Among the questions on Federer's mind: Might the USTA someday buy a roof, the likes of which they have at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and are planning for at Roland Garros? And is it time the players form a union? "Maybe it's a good catalyst for what's to come," said Federer, who is president of the ATP Player Council. "It's all up to the Grand Slams, how they are willing to make changes and move it around in the future. Because the way it is right now, it's not a perfect scenario." At least there was plenty of tennis played, quite a change from Tuesday's total washout and Wednesday's 15 minutes of play.

No. 2-seeded Nadal beat 68th-ranked Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 7-6 (1), 6-1, 6-2 in Arthur Ashe Stadium. No. 4 Murray eliminated 84th-ranked Donald Young of the United States 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in the Grandstand, and No. 28 John Isner got past No. 12 Gilles Simon of France 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) on Court 17.

The 21st-seeded Roddick next faces Nadal with a semifinal berth at stake after completing a rain-delayed 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain.

Murray next plays Isner, who reached the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career.

In the women's quarterfinals, 13-time major champion Williams overcame some shaky serving early to beat No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-1 and improve to 17-0 on hard courts this season.

"I just kept losing serve in the beginning. Very weird," said Williams, whose older sister Venus watched from the stands.

Seeded only 28th after missing nearly a full year because of health problems, Williams hasn't dropped a set so far heading into a semifinal against the top-seeded Wozniacki, a 6-1, 7-6 (5) winner against No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany on Court 13.

Next up is Wozniacki's first match against Williams since the 21-year-old Dane became No. 1 _ an opportunity for Wozniacki to prove she belongs atop the rankings despite not having won a major championship.

Not that she's concerned with that.

"I don't care what people think and say or do," Wozniacki said. "I care about what I know best. I go out there, and what I care about is that I give 100 percent every time." On the other half of the women's draw, No. 9 Sam Stosur will play 92nd-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany in the semifinals. Kerber upset No. 26 Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, while Stosur easily defeated No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-3. Zvonareva was the runner-up at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon last year.

On Roddick's side of the draw, one of the men's finalists faced the prospect of playing four best-of-five-set matches in four days, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, something Nadal called "not fair." Now the men will get Sunday off.

Nadal also raised a bigger concern: Players should have more say about how Grand Slam events are run.

"The problem is we don't have enough power in these kind of tournaments," Nadal said. "That's what have to change very soon." Others, including Murray and Stosur, echoed that sentiment, saying commercial interests outweigh player interests in tennis, and Roddick weighed in on the idea of forming a union.

"The fact is that the players feel frustrated. The players feel they're not protected enough, I guess," Djokovic said. "So this is maybe a turning point for all of us."

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