Wawrinka battles into French final

Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Stan Wawrinka is one win away from a second grand slam title after the Swiss sealed his place in the French Open final with a gutsy victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Tsonga dominated large spells of the contest on Philippe Chatrier but was made to rue 16 missed break points as Wawrinka came through 6-3 6-7 (1/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.

It means France’s 32-year wait for a home male champion at Roland Garros continues while Wawrinka will now meet either Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic, who play later on Friday.

“It is a great feeling to play in another grand slam final,” Wawrinka said.

“It was a tough match physically, the match could have been gone either way.

“Jo had many opportunities to break me in the third. Against Jo it’s always a tough match, a tough battle, especially at Roland Garros.

“He played a great tournament here, he deserved to be in the final like me but I’m very happy I won today.”

Walking out in sweltering heat, Tsonga cast a few quizzical glances around a half-empty stadium but the Frenchman made a bright start as he earned three break points in the opening game.

Wawrinka though survived on each occasion and instead it was the Swiss who broke first, unleashing a superb backhand winner to move 3-1 ahead.

Tsonga struggled to cope with his opponent’s weight of shot, which was particularly punishing on his second serve, and while the Frenchman had a fourth chance to break back in game seven, Wawrinka held on and served out the set.

There was worse to come for Tsonga in the opening game of the second set, as a double fault and then a forehand into the net gifted Wawrinka the upper-hand again.

Second-best from the back, Tsonga went for the jugular, shortening the points with blistering forehands and regular moves to the net, and the strategy worked as he broke back to level at 4-4.

Unforced errors gifted Wawrinka five chances to break again at 5-5 but each time a potent first serve saved Tsonga, before he blitzed the tie-break to go one-set all.

Aided by a rejuvenated home crowd, Tsonga’s gunning forehand continued to fire but his domination never extended to the decisive moments as Wawrinka, who had taken treatment for blisters, saved six break points in four games.

The missed opportunities would cost Tsonga dear, as his opponent kept his best form for the tie-break, which he won at a canter to restore his lead.

The setback seemed to sap the energy from Tsonga’s legs and Wawrinka broke again in the first game of the second before surviving two more break points to hold for 2-0.

The Frenchman’s profligacy continued right to the end as four more break points came and went, leaving Wawrinka to serve out the match at 5-4.

There was to be no fairytale comeback for Tsonga, who put a limp forehand into the net to confirm victory and a place in the final for Wawrinka in three hours and 46 minutes.

Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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