At the start of Federer‘s match against Tsonga yesterday, I tweeted: “Tsonga looks ready to bongo bong.” I don’t know how that phrase came to me, maybe how Tsonga’s name is spelled, maybe I just got that infectious Manu Chao tune in my head or maybe Tsonga’s bouncy and hard-hitting game reminded me of a drum beat. Anyways, Tsonga looked ready to bongo bong.
And he was. Despite being down a break in the first set, he came back to win it 7-5 and then pounced again to get up a break quickly in the second. Federer looked like he had been run over by a truck – a bit deflated and uninspired, but likely it was in big part due to Tsonga’s game powerful game. In the end it was easy for Tsonga: 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.
Tsonga said after the match that his new coach Roger Rasheed has played a large part in his revival: “You know, before I was alone. But I think it was important for me to be alone, and to understand that what I’m doing—to know I’m doing it because I like it. Sometimes it’s tough to have somebody with you. They expect a lot. But you don’t know if you expect the same things.”
Tennis.com wrote this about the match: It ought to surprise no one that Tsonga was able to pull this off partly because his preparation included a session with Rasheed, studying just how Nadal masters Federer here. Unlike Tsonga, Nadal is a left-hander, but then breaking down Federer on clay isn’t rocket science. It usually comes down to executing on two fronts: Taking time away, and working on Federer’s one-handed backhand.
Easier said than done, to be sure, but Federer was spot on in his analysis after the match: “The French guys, they always have much more energy here. I thought Jo played great today. He was in all areas better than me today. That’s why the result was pretty clean. No doubt about it. I was impressed by the way he played today.”
What to say? Fed fans just need to accept defeat and look forward to the grass season. Federer always has a good chance at Wimbledon so I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he bags slam nr 18 at his favorite court.
For the remainder of the French Open it’s hard to see the upcoming semi-final of Nadal and Djokovic as anything else but the final. No matter if it’s Tsonga or Ferrer on the other side of the net, it’s between these two gentlemen the title will be settled.