Tsonga, Wawrinka prevail but Federer's gone with the wind
By Pritha Sarkar
PARIS (Reuters) - Swirling winds caused mayhem and chaos at Roland Garros on Tuesday but Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka emerged unscathed to set up a French Open semi-final.
On a day when Wawrinka would have hoped to bask in the glory of beating his celebrated rival Roger Federer 6-4 6-3 7-6(4) for the first time on a grand slam stage, it was a freak accident that set the claycourt major abuzz.
Tsonga had whipped the delirious Court Philippe Chatrier crowd into a frenzy as he charged into a 6-1 5-2 lead against Japan's Kei Nishikori when piercing screams were suddenly heard from high up in the stands.
A large rectangular metal panel had fallen from underneath the TV commentary boxes, hitting spectators on the top row.
The incident even caught umpire Carlos Bernardes unaware, as he tried to resume the contest by calling for "Quiet Please" before he realized that everyone was distracted by the mishap which left a silver-haired spectator and two others injured.
As the stricken fans were led away by first-aiders, Tsonga and Nishikori were ushered off court for what turned out to be a 40-minute disruption, during which 12 rows of spectators were evacuated and the area cordoned off.
The unexpected break initially did nothing to stall Tsonga's momentum and he returned to finish off Nishikori in the second set.
But after the Japanese hero threatened to gatecrash the French party by roaring back in the next two sets, Tsonga sunk to his knees in triumph as he once again raised hopes of ending France's 32-year wait for a men's Roland Garros champion with a heart-pumping 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 victory. Continued...