ROLAND GARROS 2013
Tsonga, Ferrer Focused On Final Goal
by ATP Staff|
French hearts may be racing at the prospect of its first men’s finalist in 25 years, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remains cool and collected ahead of his semi-final match against Spaniard David Ferrer on Friday at Roland Garros.
“Everybody's expecting a lot from me since the beginning of this tournament - not only this tournament, but every day - so I'm used to it,” said Tsonga of dealing with the pressure. “I think it's going to be something simple for me.”
France has not had a men’s finalist since Henri Leconte in 1988 and a men’s champion since Yannick Noah in 1983, but is dreaming big after Tsonga reached the Roland Garros semi-finals for the first time with a straight-sets win over 2009 champion Roger Federer on Tuesday.
Tsonga ranked it as his best victory - “I'm sure nobody expected that from me in the past, to be there on this court against Federer and have a good win” - before adding, “The tournament is not finished, and I hope I will have some more.”
Watch Tsonga vs Federer Highlights
The next obstacle standing between the top Frenchman and the Coupe des Mousquetaires is Ferrer, who is through to the semi-finals for a second straight year. Ferrer has experience of playing a Frenchman at Roland Garros, falling to Gael Monfils in an 8-6 fifth set two years ago in the Round of 16, and looked forward to facing Tsonga in the final four.
“I am very happy he's made it that far,” he said. “I'll do everything I can to make it to the final. I have to remain focused… I think it's going to be even bigger than when I played Monfils.”
Both players have yet to drop a set during the tournament, with Ferrer spending a total of eight hours and 49 minutes on court - a mere 13 minutes less than Tsonga. He conceded just four games in a one hour, 26-minute win over fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the quarter-finals.
“I feel in very good shape at the moment,” he said. “Physically I managed to play the last round without wasting too much energy, and as you know, it's very important.”
While Tsonga has reached one Grand Slam final, at the 2008 Australian Open (l. to Djokovic), the 31-year-old Ferrer is attempting to reach his first. He has fallen at the semi-final stage five times in Grand Slam action.
“If I pull through it's going to be my first final in a Grand Slam, but that's one match I have to play,” said the World No. 5 “It's going to be a difficult match, a very interesting match. I do realise it's not the first round of a small tournament. It's a semi-final. But I'm not going to start dreaming and celebrate before it's time.”
Ferrer leads the FedEx ATP Head2 Head against Tsonga, 2-1, including a win in their lone clay-court match three years ago at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Tsonga's victory came in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2011.
“David is a very good player,” said Tsonga. “I expect a tough match, but I'm in good shape, and I will just do my best and see how it goes. I will come on the court with a lot of purpose and with 100 per cent of my possibilities.”