PARIS (Reuters) - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be keen to avoid the same fate as compatriots Julien Benneteau and Gilles Simon when Roger Federer faces his third successive French test at Roland Garros on Tuesday.
Federer gave himself the thumbs up after downing Benneteau in straight sets in round three, declared he was still fairly fresh after surviving a five-set thriller against Simon and is now rubbing his hands at the prospect of taking on his friend “Jo-Willy” in his own backyard.
“Obviously it’s a big challenge playing him here in Paris,” said the 17-times grand slam champion.
“He feeds off the fans and I think he’s moving better than he has ever in his life on clay. That’s so important on this surface.”
For Tsonga, Tuesday’s match will no doubt remind him of the highs and lows of his 2012 French Open adventure. The French showman had four matchpoints to beat Novak Djokovic at the same stage last year but blew the lot.
“Until the end of my days I will have it (the 2012 quarter-final match) in my mind. Even though I have done better this year, it was a high point in my sporting career last year,” Tsonga said.
“Unfortunately, of course, the end was tragic, if I can put it that way, but it’s one of the major high points of my career.”
Like Federer, Serena William has only one French Open trophy in her vast collection of grand slam silverware but this year the American has been an unstoppable force, dropping only 10 games en route to the last eight.
Standing in her way will be another former champion, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
While Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska faces off against 2012 runner-up Sara Errani in the other quarter-final, fans should come prepared for a long day out on Suzanne Lenglen as the second match will feature an all-Spanish duel between warriors Tommy Robredo and David Ferrer.
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond