• Wawrinka holds off Tsonga in another three-setter

    5/11/13 4:06 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Wawrinka holds off Tsonga in another three-setter A fifth consecutive match between Stanislas Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga goes the distance, this time on Friday in Madrid. Wawrinka prevails in three sets to book a semifinal meeting with Tomas Berdych.

    Stanislas Wawrinka avenged a recent Monte-Carlo loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a 6-2, 6-7(9), 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open on Friday night. It actually extended well into Saturday morning, as Wawrinka got the job done after one hour and 53 minutes just before 2:00 AM.

    Tsonga had edged Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the previous clay-court Masters event in what was their fourth of four career encounters to go the distance (two five-setters, two three-setters). For a while, however, it looked like this one would end in lightning-quick fashion. In fact, Wawrinka won the first five games of the match before Tsonga got on the scoreboard with a hold and a break for 2-5. The Swiss promptly closed out the opening set in style with his third break.

    Wawrinka also led by a break in the second, which saw him come incredibly close to finishing the job in straights. Even after giving the break back at 3-1, Wawrinka recovered to gain three match points in the ensuing tiebreaker: at 6-5 (on his own serve), 7-6 (on Tsonga's serve), and 9-8 (on Tsonga's serve). Tsonga's final save came thanks to a drop-volley followed by a lunging backhand volley for an improbable winner. The eighth-ranked Frenchman won the next two points to force a decider.

    One loose service game made the difference in set three, and it came on Tsonga's racket at 2-2. Wawrinka held the rest of the way without facing a break point while dropping only eight points in five service games. Tsonga had a slight 15-30 opening in the last game, but Wawrinka powered his way out of it and capitalized on his fourth match point at 40-30 with a service winner.

    Madrid's No. 15 seed recorded one ace and one double-fault en route to a semifinal showdown against Tomas Berdych. Tsonga, who was broken five times, wrapped up his effort with five aces and two doubles.

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