Federer rallies past Tsonga, makes semifinals
Rafael Nadal’s 30-match winning streak on clay ended on Friday when the world No.1 was upset 7-6(1), 6-4 by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the ATP Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals.
Fourth seed Roger Federer recovered from a first set hammering from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to advance to the semifinals after a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 win.
Sixth seed Ferrer, who had beaten Nadal on clay only once 10 years ago and was brushed aside by the muscular left-hander in the final at Roland Garros last year, relied on his devastating forehand to prevail in over two hours.
Nadal, who made an uncharacteristic string of unforced errors, was looking to recapture his Monte Carlo crown after Novak Djokovic had ended his eight-year reign in last year’s final — his previous defeat on clay.
Ferrer will next face world No. 3 and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who dismissed eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 6-2.
Ferrer broke Nadal’s serve in the second game, only for the top seed to break back in the third after a 16-minute dogfight in overcast conditions.
Ferrer saw off a potentially decisive break point in the 11th game and the opening set went to a tiebreak, which he won 7-1 as Nadal collapsed.
Nadal continued to struggle in the second set, with a weak drop shot being easily retrieved by Ferrer as he broke for 2-1.
The world No. 6 stole Nadal’s serve again for 5-2.
Nadal broke back for 5-3 and held for 5-4 but bowed out on the first match point when he netted a routine backhand.
Wawrinka, who did not play on Thursday because his third-round opponent Nicolas Almagro of Spain had withdrawn injured, got off to a slow start against Raonic, needing a tiebreak to pocket the first set. He was then unstoppable, outpacing the Canadian who showed his limits at the highest level.
Wawrinka, who has dragged himself out of a short slump he suffered after beating Nadal for the Grand Slam title in Melbourne three months ago, took control as eighth seed Raonic twice lost leads in the opening set tie-breaker.
The mistakes gave an opening to Wawrinka, who took the first set on his initial opportunity and then broke to start the second as the frustrated Raonic let go of a 40-15 lead in the first game. From that point on, momentum totally shifted to the Swiss world No. 3, who broke the Canadian again for 5-2 before serving out for the match in 90 minutes.Wawrinka finished with 30 winners and 28 unforced errors and never faced a break-point. The Swiss was playing his third consecutive quarterfinal at the event which marks the start of the European clay season and the run-up to Roland Garros which begins on May 25.
The results: Quarterfinals: Roger Federer bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1; Stanislas Wawrinka bt Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 6-2; David Ferrer bt Rafael Nadal 7-6(1), 6-4. Third round: Novak Djokovic bt Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0, 6-1; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez bt Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo bt Rohan Bopanna & Aisam Qureshi 7-6(4), 7-5.