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By Julien Pretot
PARIS, June 7 There was a sense of anti-climax as David Ferrer brushed aside local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 7-6(3) 6-2 to reach his first grand slam final on Friday and set up an all-Spanish French Open final with seven-times champion Rafa Nadal.
The big match of the day for the partisan Roland Garros crowd turned into a non-event for Tsonga who never got into the contest after the fans had been treated to an epic five-set clash between Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
When sixth seed Tsonga stepped on to Court Philippe Chatrier looking to become the first Frenchman to reach the French Open final since Henri Leconte in 1988, the stands were not full.
"It was strange because the stands were not completely filled. It was weird," Tsonga told a news conference.
"I thought they would support him even more," said Ferrer.
Some spectators had left, others had gone for refreshments after witnessing a great episode of the Rafa v Djoko rivalry.
It certainly worked in Ferrer's favour as he never experienced the pressure of having a 15,000-seater stadium against him.
Fourth seed Ferrer, yet to drop a set at Roland Garros this year, was barely challenged by sixth seed Tsonga who had crushed 17-times grand slam champion Roger Federer with an inspired performance in the quarter-finals.
"When I got back to the locker room, I wanted to break everything, I wanted to hurt myself," Tsonga told reporters after a woeful performance in which even his massive first serve failed to derail the 31-year-old Ferrer.
"My return is very good and I knew that for that match I needed to return very well," the Spaniard told a news conference.
"Today he clearly was better than me, there is not much to be said about it," Tsonga said.
"He was even faster than I had imagined."
Tsonga, the last Frenchman to play in a grand slam final at the 2008 Australian Open, failed to match Ferrer's pace and capitulated after just over two hours.
ON THE ROPES
Ferrer, apparently oblivious to his surroundings, raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set with some clever angled shots.
"Tsonga!, Tsonga!," the crowd roared, although the noise level never matched that of the previous match.
Tsonga was on the ropes but he still opened a 3-0 lead in the second set after playing beautifully through the second game, breaking to love with a perfectly-drilled forehand winner.
A forehand long, however, allowed Ferrer to break back and in the blink of an eye, the Spaniard was 4-3 up after Tsonga had double-faulted on break point.
The Frenchman fought to break back and force a tiebreak, which Ferrer easily won after Tsonga's ugly errors had put him 4-0 ahead.
The Spaniard cantered through the third set with a sense of urgency, wrapping it up on his opponent's serve when Tsonga hit another forehand long.
Ferrer fell on his back on to the red clay after setting up the first all-Spanish final at Roland Garros since Alberto Costa beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2002.
Ferrer has a 4-19 record against Nadal and has lost their last 16 meetings on clay.
"I can't relax really because there is still the final that I need to play," he said.
"It's a very important match and I want to do well. I want to play a great match that meets the standards of a grand slam final.
"So I don't want to celebrate right now saying, Okay, I made it to the final." (Editing by Ed Osmond)