Federer upset by Wawrinka; Tsonga wins; Ivanovic, Safarova advance
PARIS – Catch up on the news and results from Day 10 at the French Open in Paris.
Stan Wawrinka outclasses Roger Federer to make his first French Open semifinal: When Stan Wawrinka wants to play, boy does he want to play. The No. 8 seed blasted through the wind, the court, and Roger Federer to upend the No. 2 6–4, 6–3, 7–6(4) to advance to his first French Open semifinal. This was the Wawrinka that won the Australian Open last year and worked his way into the top 5. There was purpose behind every swing of his racket on Tuesday as he fired 43 winners to just 28 unforced errors.
"The conditions [were] really tough," Wawrinka said. "I don't think [anyone] was happy with the wind. But it's quite clear what I have to do when it's conditions like that and when I play Roger. I need to play really heavy. I know that when I play good tennis, when I play my best tennis, I can play so heavy from both sides that it's really tough for the opponent to play. That's why Roger was struggling today. It's because I was playing so well."
Federer, playing on his third consecutive day, had no answers to his compatriot's arsenal. "I tried many things," Federer said. "One of them was trying to put it up high. Another one was trying to chip it shorter. Another one was trying to hit through the wind. Obviously I was not going to, you know, leave the French Open without having tried everything out there. So it was tough, you know. Would have loved to have won the breaker, would have loved to come back in the first set, but wasn't so.
"Stan was clutch on the big points and really didn't give me much, so it was a credit to him for playing so well today."
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hands Kei Nishikori a rare five-set loss: All the numbers were going Nishikori's way. He held a 41 record against Tsonga and when the match turned to a fifth set, Nishikori's five-match winning streak in five-setters pointed the way to victory, especially after he overcame two sets of sloppy play to win the third and fourth sets to force a decider. But Tsonga had other ideas. Despite finding himself in a fifth set, Frenchman knew he had played quality tennis throughout the match. He had three break points in each of the third and fourth sets but just had not found a way to convert.
It was Tsonga who raised his level in the final set to score a 6–1, 6–4, 4–6, 3–6, 6–3 win to book his spot in the semifinals for the second time in his career. With the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier behind him, he broke Nishikori in the third game and never looked back. After the final ball fell he scratched out "Roland Je'taime" onto the court and knelt down before the adoring crowd. For a player beset by injuries for much of the last 12 months this was an unexpected return to glory for the 30-year-old. He is just the second Frenchman in the Open Era to reach multiple semifinals at his home tournament.
Ana Ivanovic back into the semifinals for the first time since 2008: The No. 7 defeated both gusty conditions and No. 19 Elina Svitolina 6–3, 6–2 to make her first Slam semifinal since 2008, the same year she won the title here in Roland Garros. It was the perfect match from Ivanovic, who made quick work of the 20-year-old Ukrainian, firing 37 winners to 30 unforced errors while limiting Svitolina to just eight winners.
"I do remember that feeling [of being in the semifinals], but obviously I'm just so thrilled," Ivanovic said. "You can't take any victory for granted, let alone for quarterfinal. It's not every day that you reach that. It's been a long time. So I really am pleased. I know the feeling and the emotions, and also winning on Philippe Chatrier, it means a lot to me. I'm very humbled and very much appreciate all the hard work not only I but everyone around me puts to be in this position."
Ivanovic's run through the bottom half of the draw has not been an easy one, and it was tempting to write off her chances even before the tournament began. She won just two matches on clay this season, with opening round exits in both Stuttgart (l. Garcia) and Rome (l. Gavrilova). She struggled against less opposition in her first two rounds as well, nearly losing to No. 103 Misaki Doi in the second round.
"Obviously I haven't had as many matches coming into this tournament as I had probably last year," Ivanovic said. "Last year I came in probably expecting to be this far in the tournament. But now I had to battle. First round, Sunday, I lost the first set; I was down and had to fight my way back. Second round was the same story. Just really tried to stay and hang in there and not think about the occasion or the match or anything. Just tried to execute."
Metal falls on Court Philippe Chatrier injuring three spectators: During the quarterfinal match between Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a piece of metal fell from the scoreboard at Roland Garros's Court Philippe Chatrier. Three spectators were described to have minor injuries. Read more about the incident here.
Lucie Safarova backs up her big win by defeating Garbine Muguruza: The left-handed Czech showed no signs of a let-down after beating No. 2 Maria Sharapova on Monday, playing high-quality tennis to beat No. 21 Muguruza 7–6, 6–3 in nearly two hours. The win puts Safarova into her second Slam semifinal in 12 months, having made her first last summer at Wimbledon. As a result, she'll make her Top 10 debut after the tournament.
"Yeah, it's not easy because you have so many emotions going on from yesterday," Safarova said. "I couldn't really fall asleep yesterday evening, and then I wake up so early. So I was like a little tired in the morning. But the will to win and to be in the semifinals was so big that once I stepped on the court I was just fighting and playing really well."
The match was top-quality from first ball to last, with both women fighting off the conditions to exchange heavy baseline strokes. Little separated them in the first set but it was Safarova who played the big points well, and her lefty serve proved a difference-maker. She hit seven aces and fired 28 winners to just 18 unforced errors. Muguruza nearly matched her from the baseline, hitting 24 winners, but struggled to get looks on the Czech's service games. The young Spaniard, into her second consecutive Roland Garros semifinal, could do nothing but tip her visor.
"I'm not saying I'm very happy and I'm not 'jumping with joy,' but I'm quite happy because I fought until the very end," Muguruza said afterwards. "But Safarova plays so well that I couldn't imagine. It was impossible. I have the impression that she was running well. Her serve was fantastic."
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 11
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