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Tsonga standing in Murray's way

Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga serves to Philipp Kohlschreiber during their quarter-final match.
by Barry Newcombe
Wednesday 4 July 2012

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is into the Wimbledon semi-finals for a second successive year after beating the German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 in two hours and 48 minutes on No.1 Court. He will now meet Britain's Andy Murray.

Apart from brief lapses in  the second set, when the natural flow of his attack was challenged by Kohlschreiber's patient work, Tsonga played with single-minded determination on which he will hope to build with a place in the final beckoning.

The victory puts Tsonga, at the age of 27, into his fourth Grand Slam semi-final, matching his compatriots Sebastien Grosjean, Henri Leconte, and Cedric Pioline. Tsonga has the edge in power and pace over his predecessors and he will need it for the task ahead.

Tsonga  celebrated with a dance of joy around the court, while Kohlschreiber, who had never been this far at Wimbledon, looked disconsolate. The German had demonstrated his form last month when he beat Rafael Nadal in Halle but with Tsonga in this sort of mood it was always going to be difficult.

Tsonga moves to No.15 in the rankings with this win, which maintained his record of never having lost to a German player in a Grand Slam. The first set demonstrated the keen edge between the two players, with the only break point in the first 12 games was against Kohlschreiber - a volley error at 4-3 behind. But the German saved that and the set progressed to a tie-break which Tsonga took 7-5 with one of 17 aces.

In the second set Tsonga trailed 2-0 aftrer Kohlschreiber hit a forehand service return down the line for a break point. Tsonga saved break points in the fourth and sixth games but managed a break back for 4-3. He then dropped serve for only the second time to allow his opponent to level.

The main task for Kohlschreiber in the third set was to stop Tsonga converting any one of five break points in the seventh game, which he achieved but the eventual tie-break was won by Tsonga.

In the fourth the momentum was with Tsonga. He broke Kohlschreiber's serve to love for a 3-1 lead and then served two aces in the next game to confirm his authority. Tsonga's final point was a forehand cross-court winner.

Tsonga said: "For me last year was something huge to reach the semis. This year it's going to be a bit different. I'm a bit more favourite in this tournament.''

Tsonga also sympathised with Andy Murray's situation as the lone British star at Wimbledon, adding: "In France it's ok, we have many players and that's fine. But here for him it's really difficult because every eyes are on him and it's tough for him.''



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