Saturday, April 16, 2016 8:40 am
Roger Federer was sent packing earlier than expected on Friday by eighth seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals, while eight-time champion Rafael Nadal made it through.
The third seeded Federer, returning to the court for the first time since a knee surgery in February, fell to the Frenchman 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, despite holding two match points when 5-4 up in the decider.
“I think it had definitely some twists and turns,” commented Federer. “I’m not sure how come. Maybe we were both a bit up and down.”
The Swiss, however, was just happy that he did not catch any relapse at the first tournament he played since surgery.
“It was a good match. It was nice to play an intense match. I’m happy how the body reacted. So many good things this week. It’s all positive for me,” he said.
“It’s always special to play against him, especially on court, because you have all the crowd against you,” said Tsonga.
“I was expecting a difficult match, and that is exactly what happened. But I was able to turn it around. He dropped his level a little bit and I was able to come back into the match and end up winning. It’s good for me,” he added.
Tsonga will face his compatriot Gael Monfils in the semifinals after the latter eased past lucky loser Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 6-4.
World No. 2 Andy Murray and the fifth seed Rafael Nadal both snatched victories and will play each other in the semifinals.
Nadal, who’s on course to his ninth title at Monte Carlo, breezed off Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4, breaking Wawrinka’s serve four times and conceding only one break point to reach his 11th Monte Carlo semifinal.
Wawrinka, last year’s Roland Garros champion, broke his racquet in the fifth game of the first set to the boos of spectators, saying that he was disturbed by all of the noise coming from the restaurant above the court.
“You wonder whether people are coming to have lunch or to watch tennis. I don’t believe they saw a lot of the match. I think they also drank a lot of alcohol,” Wawrinka complained.
“When you don’t play well and you’re not in your match, it can bother you,” he added.
“Stan today, I think the last three games of the first set, that’s the only moment that he didn’t play well. Obviously he played with too many mistakes,” said Nadal.
Murray, who has a 6-16 record against Nadal and 1-6 on clay, will play the Spaniard for a place in the final after having routed Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0.
The Scot beat Nadal in the Madrid Masters final last year, when he won his first of two career titles on clay.