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Tsonga beats Federer in French Open

Jo-Wlfried Tsonga sailed through to the semifinals after humiliating Roger Federer on Tuesday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Picture: AFP

PARIS - Roger Federer calls Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a "great friend" but received no mercy from the Frenchman who swept him aside in devastating fashion on Tuesday to boost hopes of a first home men's winner at Roland Garros since 1983.

An inspired Tsonga played like a man on a mission and Federer simply could not live with him, slumping to a chastening 7-5 6-3 6-3 French Open quarterfinal defeat in front of a spellbound crowd on a sun-drenched Philippe Chatrier court.

However, Tsonga had something up his sleeve, telling reporters afterwards that his coach Roger Rasheed had instructed him to go out and play like Nadal.

"I had a long discussion with Roger, and before the match we tried to see how Roger Federer plays on the clay," Tsonga said.

Tsonga has been part of the pack chasing the elite top-four of men's tennis ever since bursting through to reach the 2008 Australian Open final where he lost to Novak Djokovic. But he had never gone beyond the last eight in Paris.

When Federer wafted a backhand long on match point, the crowd erupted and Tsonga set off on his trademark celebratory leap, the tantalising prospect of the 28-year-old going on to emulate Yannick Noah became the talk of the town.

"Jo-Willy played great today. He was better than me in all areas today. He returned better than I did, served better than I did. I struggled to find my rhythm." Federer said.

WAWRINKA TOUGH BATTLE

Stanislas Wawrinka will draw on the advice and experience of the man who coached the only person to beat Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros when he meets the seven-time French Open champion in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The Swiss ninth seed, who has never taken a set off Nadal in nine encounters, is now coached by Magnus Norman who was in charge of Swede Robin Soderling when he upset Nadal in the fourth round in 2009.

The Spanish third seed had a straight sets win in the fourth round while Wawrinka experienced thigh problems in a five-set thriller against France's Richard Gasquet.

"I know it's difficult to play against Rafael on clay, and a five‑set match, possibly," said Wawrinka.

Nadal is on a semifinal collision course with world number one Novak Djokovic, who faces German veteran Tommy Haas, at 35, is the oldest man in a Grand Slam last eight since Andre Agassi at the 2005 US Open.

SERENA ON FIRING MOOD

Women's defending champion Maria Sharapova, the second seed, opens proceedings with her quarterfinal contest against 18th seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who is looking to equal her best performance at Roland Garros.

Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the double Australian Open champion, is bidding to reach the last four for the first time when she plays Russian 12th seed Maria Kirilenko.

Serena Williams has been on a mission ever since taking to the park courts in Compton and the 31-year-old moved a step closer to a 16th major singles title, which would be one behind Federer, as she beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1 3-6 6-3.

The American top seed, who snapped a run of four successive quarter-final defeats here since she won the title in 2002, will face diminutive Italian Sara Errani in the semi-finals.

Fifth seed Errani continued to prove that last year's final appearance in Paris was no flash in the pan as she edged past Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 7-6 (6) in what was her first career win against a player ranked in the top four.

The remaining quarter-finals are on Wednesday when men's top seed Djokovic faces Tommy Haas and Rafa Nadal meets Stanislas Wawrinka, while women's number two seed Maria Sharapova tackles Jelena Jankovic and Victoria Azarenka plays Maria Kirilenko.