THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012
Tsonga Dashes Kohlschreiber's Hopes; Reaches Wimbledon SFs For Second Straight Year
by ATP Staff|
Fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled his way into the Wimbledon semi-finals for a second straight year on Wednesday with a hard-fought 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over No. 27 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
“I’m really happy, really happy,” said Tsonga. “For the second time, I [have] reached the semis. For me, it's going to also be a second chance.”
Tsonga trails Murray 1-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
In a tense opening set on Court One, which featured no break of serve and was decided on a tie-break, Tsonga hit six aces and 13 winners to take the lead after 47 minutes.
Kohlschreiber capitalised on a slow start from Tsonga in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead. Tsonga fought his way back to 4-4, but Kohlschreiber won his second of two break point opportunities at 30/40 in the 10th game after Tsonga hit a backhand into the net.
The 28-year-old German, appearing in his first major quarter-final, grew in confidence, while Tsonga’s error count increased. The third set went with serve to 3-3, when Tsonga raised his game. Kohlschreiber saved all three break points he faced to leave Tsonga clearly frustrated.
Both players remained aggressive, trying to create half chances but the set was destined for a tie-break, where Tsonga moved into a 5-2 lead. He clinched the set after 58 minutes, when Kohlschreiber hit a blocked backhand return into the net. Tsonga improved to 11-9 in tie-breaks this season.
Tsonga upped the ante to take a 3-1 lead in the 25-minute fourth set, which he maintained to record his 18th win in 22 matches at the All England Club. At 2-5, Kohlschreiber narrowly hit a forehand long to give Tsonga one match point opportunity. Tsonga went for broke on a backhand pass, which Kohlschreiber volleyed just over the net. Tsonga raced in for a forehand crosscourt winner, his 43rd of the match.
Over the 12 months, Tsonga feels he has become more consistent. “Before, I was not consistent enough in my head. I lost my concentration many times. It was tough for me to play tennis, honestly, because I lost my concentration every single day and it was difficult.”
On Wednesday, Tsonga equalled the record of three former French players, Sebastien Grosjean, Henri Leconte and Cedric Pioline, who each reached four Grand Slam championship semi-finals during their careers.
World No. 30 Kohlschreiber was bidding to become the lowest-ranked major championship semi-final since No. 34-ranked Tommy Haas at Wimbledon three years ago. He committed 31 unforced errors, four more than Tsonga, in the two-hour and 48-minute encounter.