Scheduling at tennis can get crazy sometime. With fear of losing the next day (today) due to bad weather, the organizers of the US Open had Roger Federer play his match to end day eight of the 2011 US Open at 23:50 local time. It ended about 80 minutes later, at 1:15. A comfortable win at a very uncomfortable time for Federer, setting him up with a very uncomfortable foe at the Quarter final.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 26 year old Frenchman, who was never quite able to build on his early 2008 success, reaching the Australian Open final. This year however, things seem to be going his way. He reached two tournament finals after going final-less in 2010, though he lost them both. He reached the Wimbledon Semi’s for the first time in his career. He beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, remember that?
Federer was comfortably ahead, 6-3, 7-6. Then came Tsonga booming. He even won the crowd, something no one, unless you have some kind of home advantage. Federer began his usual series of errors, and Tsonga just didn’t let go, hitting those monsterous forehands time and time again, running Federer off the court. 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The first time, the only time, Roger Federer has lost a five setter in a grand slam after winning the first two sets.
To make things even more complicated for Federer, Tsonga beat him again in Canada just the last month in the Roger Cup. Federer does lead the all-time series 4-3, winning one in 2011 before the Roland Garros, but Tsonga, who looked fantastic during the final two sets against Mardy Fish – Daring (and succeeding), fresh and strong, has to have some sort of mental edge.
Juan Monaco was a pleasent rival to have at such a late hour for Federer in the fourth round. The Argentinian proved much easier than Marin Cilic in the previous round – Federer won 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. He won the first five games, taking 20 of the 25 points played, in only 12 minutes. He hit four aces in the opening game of the second set, finishing with 14.
Monaco didn’t even put up a fight – Federer led 42-4 in the winners department when it was all said and done. Confidence booster? He’s a tough player (referring to Tsonga)… I look forward to that match. If I play good as I did today, I’m sure I have a chance. If Federer can make quick work of the earlier sets before age and tired legs make way and room for Tsonga’s power to rise, well… I’m not sure even then. Tsonga’s been out of bad situations against Federer before.