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Federer fails to flinch in five setter

World number two Roger Federer  knocked off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a thrilling quarter final clash at Rod Laver Arena last night, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3.

The former top ranked men’s player and arguably greatest tennis player of all time had to fight for every point against the dynamic Tsonga, with victory only assured after an intense fifth set battle in a match that lasted tjhree hours 34 minutes.

After Tsonga was broken in the first game of the match, the 27-year old Frenchman became the first player in the tournament to break Federer’s serve, doing so in the sixth game.

A foot fault at 4-4 did not deter Tsonga’s audacious strokeplay as the world number eight forced a tiebreaker with Federer before the Swiss pulled out his trademark one-handed backhand like a bullet from a gun.

Federer took the first set tiebreaker 7-4 in a finale that Tsonga never really got himself into.

However Tsonga’s booming serve became a headache for Federer with a total of 20 aces to Federer’s six highlighting a disproportionate advantage to the Frenchman with the ball in hand.

With 67 percent of Tsonga’s serves finding their place in the service court – some reaching speeds of 218km/h – he took the second set 6-4 to remind the crowd that if it was a fight they wanted to see, it was a fight they were going to get.

Twentys seven games apiece magnified the closeness of the match as the third set went to another tense tiebreaker, which Federer executed perfectly with his high-kicking serve and vicious cross-court forehands.

“That was a close match, but the whole match was tough,” said Federer.

“You never know what Jo is going to come up with.

“I feel a bit lucky to come through there.”

Statistics suggest otherwise though, with Federer trumping Tsonga in most areas, most noticeably in unforced errors and net points.

Having raced to a 4-1 lead in the fifth, Federer had a degree of difficulty closing out the match; with a poor conversion rate of 4/18 break points won.

He finally did so with an overhead smash to take the fifth set and book a tough semi-final clash with his British nemesis Andy Murray on Friday evening.

“I have to recover a little bit,” said Federer.

“I’ll be fine.

“He’s obviously extremely tough but I’m looking forward to playing him.”

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