If you did not know it by now, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is Mr Cool. A set down overnight to Mardy Fish, the unflustered Frenchman simply came back and casually won the next three sets – despite two more rain interruptions - to clinch a quarter-final date with Philipp Kohlschreiber.
It was a breathtaking performance against Fish, who was at the top of his game, as the No.5 seed triumphed 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 18 minutes. Afterwards Tsonga admitted he expected to progress to the semi-finals and, on this evidence, nobody can blame him.
“Maybe you will say I'm favourite because I’ve played against him many times now,” said Tsonga, who has a 5-1 advantage against his German opponent. “I will play more relaxed and will have nothing to lose.
“It's never easy to go off overnight because you never know how it's going to happen. But, you know, I'm pretty relaxed. I have had this scenario many times. Last time I had it was in Roland Garros. So I know you have to be relaxed and take it easy and just continue what you do.”
Fish actually won more points than Tsonga throughout the match but the American could not keep up the standard he had set on Monday afternoon, a fact Tsonga acknowledged.
“Yesterday I didn't play badly, I played well,” he stressed. “But he was just better than me. He returned, like, 80 per cent of my serve. It was really difficult to play yesterday because he was really aggressive. He didn't miss one shot.”
Not only was Fish’s serve in full flow on Monday, he also repelled Tsonga’s. However, 24 hours later it was an entirely different story with Tsonga taking the first three games of the day, including a dreamlike backhand volley to break, before the rain came again.
After his recent health issues, Fish’s progress to the fourth round was an achievement in itself, but he broke straight back after the rain delay. The No.10 seed struggled as Tsonga’s serve improved in the tiebreak though.
Even a timeout to have treatment on his back could not halt Tsonga’s progress and he revealed later the injury would not cause him any further problems in the tournament.
Tsonga went on to break in the very first game of the third set and eventually held on despite surviving two break-back points from the battling Fish when surviving for the set.
Fish struggled with his own back injury and Tsonga was able to take complete control with an early break in the fourth. Fish refused to give in though, but struggled to handle the popular Frenchman’s booming serves. Not even another rain delay could deny Tsonga, but Fish’s efforts simply cannot be faulted.
“Six to eight weeks ago I wasn't sure I was able to come,” he admitted. “I certainly didn't want to miss this tournament. Realistically I didn't think I was going to be able to come, so I'm happy to have lost in the fourth round at least. There's only 16 players that did that, so it's not a bad result, I guess.
“I played well enough to win. I would have beat a lot of players today. He's one of the best players in the world on this surface. He's shown that he can beat anyone, so I wouldn't be shocked if he won the tournament.
“But I really felt, the way that I was playing yesterday, I went to bed last night and I thought I could maybe win the tournament the way I was playing.”
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