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France dares to dream as Tsonga advances

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France dares to dream as Tsonga advances
French hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Roger Federer in straight sets on June 4th. Could he be the first homegrown men's French Open winner since 1983? Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
09:29 CEST+02:00
Local hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sent the crowds at Roland Garros, as well as the media, into raptures after his straight sets victory over Roger Federer. Tsonga is the first Frenchman to reach the French Open semi-finals since 2008.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sent Roger Federer crashing out of the French Open quarter-finals on Tuesday to take a step closer to ending France's 30-year wait for a men's champion at Roland Garros.

Sixth-seed Tsonga swept to a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 triumph to reach his first semi-final in Paris and first by a home player since Gael Monfils in 2008.

The 28-year-old will tackle Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer for a place in Sunday's final.

Victory helped wipe out the misery of his quarter-final in Paris last year where he had four match points over Novak Djokovic but lost in five sets.

"It's extraordinary to be here and to have won," said Tsonga, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Yannick Noah, France's last men's champion in Paris in 1983.

"I never dreamt of this moment. Today was my moment against a champion who has won everything.

"I didn't think I would get this far without losing a set. But Ferrer has not lost a set as well, he's in great form."

Federer, in his 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, was bidding to win a record 58th career match at Roland Garros and reach his 34th semi-final at a major.

The 17-time Grand Slam title winner also had the advantage of a 9-3 career lead over the French star, but Tsonga had been the man to beat Federer from two sets to love down in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2011.

"It was a bad day, it's a crushing disappointment," admitted Federer.

"But I will forget about it quickly, I usually do.

"Give a lot of credit to Jo, he turns defence into attack very quickly and has got a big game.

"He can take time away from you and has a lot of confidence. That's a big part of his game."

Tsonga had reached the quarter-finals without dropping a set, while 31-year-old Federer had struggled in his fourth round win over Gilles Simon where he had to come back from two sets to one down.

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