1/21/13 5:52 PM | Ricky Dimon
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wins an all-French showdown against Richard Gasquet on Monday in Melbourne. Next up for Tsonga is familiar foe Roger Federer, who has not dropped a set this fortnight.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga held off Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday afternoon. Tsonga needed two hours and 20 minutes to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Roger Federer.
Gasquet has now lost in round four of the last five Grand Slams, and also in seven of the last eight. The world No. 10 clearly had a chance in this one, but a continuous failure on big points sealed a recurring fate. The similar winners-to-errors stats (37 to 36 for Tsonga; 32 to 31 for Gasquet) were nullified by break-point conversions. Tsonga converted four of nine chances whereas Gasquet capitalized on only one of nine.
Not surprisingly, Tsonga saved three break points every single time he served for a set; at 5-4 in the first, 5-3 in the third, and 5-2 in the fourth. The world No. 8 used his big first serve to survive most of the crucial moments; he won 81 percent of his first-serve points and fired nine aces.
"It's different because last year I was by myself," Tsonga said of his partnership with coach Roger Rasheed. "This year, I'm with Rog. It's just great to be with him. He give me good advice, so I hope I will continue to play good tennis and hope we'll have some good victories together."
A victory over a different Roger on Wednesday would be one of the biggest of Tsonga's career. He is 3-8 lifetime against Federer but has defeated the 17-time major champion once before in a slam quarterfinal (a comeback from two sets down at Wimbledon in 2011).
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