Wawrinka beats Tsonga to make his first French Open final
PARIS – Catch up on the news and results from the men's semifinal matches on Friday at the French Open.
Stan Wawrinka beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make his first French Open final: It wasn't pretty in the end, but that's not Wawrinka's fault. The Swiss overcame a slight dip in form on a stiflingly hot day to end No. 14 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's run, winning 6–3, 6–7 (1), 7–6 (3), 6–4 to make his second Slam final in 16 months.
With temperatures cracking 90 degrees on Friday, Wawrinka unleashed his powerful serve and groundstrokes to pin Tsonga behind the baseline and looked well in control of the match at the outset, taking the first set in just 35 minutes. After a confidence-boosting straight-set win over No. 2 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, Wawrinka looked prime to make this a quick day's work against the overmatched Frenchman. But things got complicated quickly after Wawrinka secured an early break in the second set. He played a poor service game at 4-3, throwing in two double-faults, to let Tsonga back into the set. When the set went to a tiebreak, it was Tsonga who raced out to a 6-0 lead and closed it out 7-1 to steal the set and level the match.
Whether he was bothered by the heat or a mild injury to a finger on his right hand, Wawrinka was second-best throughout most of the third set. But when it came to playing the big points, Tsonga came up short throughout the entire match. He was just 1 for 17 on break points in the match, including 0 for 4 in the first set, 0 for 6 in the third set and 0 for 6 in the fourth. With countless chances to break Wawrinka and take control of the match, Tsonga blinked. Having scratched his way into a tiebreaker, Wawrinka found a way to play his best tennis of the set and took it 7–3.
Wawrinka didn't fare much better than Tsonga on his break points, going 3 for 15 in the match, but after breaking Tsonga in the first game of the final set and saving four break points in a critical fourth game, the 30-year-old from Lausanne served out the match with ease after three hours and 46 minutes of grinding tennis. Wawrinka finished with 60 winners to 48 unforced errors. As expected, Wawrinka attacked the Tsonga backhand all day and the weaker wing did not hold up—30 of Tsonga's 53 unforced errors came off that side.
Serena Williams skips practice, media duties on eve of the French Open final: After postponing her mandatory post-match press conference to see the tournament doctor after her semifinal win on Thursday, Serena did not practice on Friday or speak to the media. The ITF says this is not a fineable offense given her health concerns.
While Serena was presumably resting at home, her final opponent, Lucie Safarova, was on court in the women's doubles semifinals. She and her partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands won their match and are into the final.
Serena released a statement later on Friday about her illness: "I started to feel unwell around the third or fourth round and I felt really terrible during the semis against Timea. I'm actually not sure how I got through the match and when it was over I just kind of collapsed. I couldn't move. I saw the tournament doctor on site and since I can home I've been resting—I just could not practice today. I think I have some kind of flu which makes it tough, because it's just a matter of resting and keep hydrated—there's not much else I can do. I've felt really cold so I'm just fighting that, trying to sweat it out. A doctor is coming to see me here at home..."
LIVE NOW: Novak Djokovic takes on Andy Murray: Follow along here for instant analysis of the match as the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds play for a spot in the final against Wawrinka.
SNAPSHOTS FROM THE MEN'S SEMIFINALS
This post will be updated.