Jo-Wilfried Tsonga meets Roger Federer for the second year in a row in Melbourne. Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
Just over a week ago Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga met in an exhibition match at Melbourne Park, but they have to get ready for the real thing on Monday night with the superstars clashing for a spot in the final eight. It’s a repeat of last year’s quarter-final in which Federer emerged victorious after an energy-sapping five-set win. The Frenchman broke his opponent in every set, bar the fifth, which the Swiss master won 6-3, although he did need five match points to wrap things up.
Taking out a walkover in Doha in 2012, Federer has won the last five matches between this pair on an outdoor or indoor hardcourt, and he has won all three clashes on this surface in the majors. Both players have managed to avoid spending too much time in the heat in the first week with neither dropping a set to get to this point. Tsonga had, by far, the tougher draw, but he has been relatively untroubled, although he had to fight hard to beat injured compatriot Gilles Simon in an entertaining third round match-up.
Neither player turned out in Sydney or Kooyong in the week prior to the Australian Open, so fatigue shouldn’t be an issue coming in to the match. Federer lost to Lleyton Hewitt in the Brisbane final, while Tsonga went through the Hopman Cup predictably unbeaten in four singles rubbers. Tsonga has beaten Federer on four occasions (excluding the forfeit), but only once has he managed to clinch a win in straight sets , and that was at last year’s French Open in the quarters.
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