Perseverance Pays Off For Federer
Roger Federer’s patience was tested to the limit as he battled to a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Friday.
It took Federer 16 break points before he finally breached Tsonga’s defences on serve. The decisive move gave him a 2-0 lead in the third set and he went on to break Tsonga once more before claiming victory in two hours and 26 minutes.
The Swiss had been two points from defeat, trailing 5-6, 0/30 at the end of the second set, but four points later had forced a tie-break. He let slip a 6-3 lead, but was given a fourth set point chance courtesy of a Tsonga error and took his chance.
“I was down 6-5, 0/30,” said Federer. “It was a tough point at 15-30 as far as I remember with a half volley backhand defense kind of thing. It wasn’t looking good there. Clearly was quite frustrating for a long period of time, missing all those break points. Now, looking back, I can take also some positives out of the match. It was just many things went wrong at the wrong time for me: Jo playing well, me playing wrong at certain times, wrong shot selections. It was a tough day at the office. I’m happy I found the way to tough it out.
“The confidence is there. I played well from the baseline. My serve was consistent. I’m very happy that I have this foundation for my game. Sometimes you feel you have no foundation. But having it helped me to remain very calm during the whole match. I really believed that eventually I was going to come through. It’s not possible to go through that many break points. I was playing good enough to make the break and then serve my way home. That’s exactly kind of what happened.”
“The conditions were changing a lot during the match,” reflected Tsonga. “It was becoming colder and the balls were not bouncing that much anymore and it was difficult for me to give them some height. So he had more and more of those balls at the height of his hips, and that’s where he feels most comfortable. So it was then more difficult for me to put the ball away from him. I forced myself a bit and I got into trouble.”
It was Federer’s 950th tour-level win and put him in his 50th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final.
For a place in the final, Federer will face defending champion Novak Djokovic. The 32-year-old Federer is looking to reach the final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the fourth time, having finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal from 2006-08.
Federer is this week looking to win his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and first since Cincinnati 2012 (d. Djokovic). He was beaten by Djokovic last month in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.