MONTE CARLO, April 19 (Reuters) - Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6 6-3 6-4 on Friday to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals for the first time.
Fifth seed Tsonga, who had not reached the last four in a Masters series event since his 2011 home triumph at the Paris Open, set up a possible clash with eight-times champion Rafael Nadal who plays Bulgarian youngster Grigor Dimitrov later.
On a chilly morning on the picturesque Centre Court, with the sun hidden by clouds and a cool breeze refreshing the sparse crowd, the heat quickly went up as both players started fast.
A solid Wawrinka clinched the first set by pushing Tsonga beyond his baseline and was looking on course to repeat the superb third-round performance which knocked out world number two Andy Murray.
However, Tsonga's aggression paid off with the Swiss-based Frenchman making the most of his rare break chances to overcome his occasional training partner.
World number one Novak Djokovic, still recovering from a sprained ankle, was scheduled to meet Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and seventh seed Richard Gasquet of France faces Italian Fabio Fognini in the other quarter-finals.
(Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Ed Osmond)