By Julien Pretot
PARIS, June 2 (Reuters) - French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga set up a clash with Roger Federer when he easily dispatched Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-3 6-3 to book his place in the French Open quarter-finals on Sunday.
Tsonga, the last Frenchman to reach a grand slam final at the 2008 Australian Open, has yet to drop a set at Roland Garros this year and sealed a straightforward win in one hour 45 minutes.
He will next take on Swiss great Federer, who struggled past France’s 15th seed Gilles Simon in five sets.
Tsonga beat Federer in the Wimbledon last-eight in 2011 and is desperate to repeat that kind of achievement on a more regular basis.
“I know fully well that I was able to beat them (the top players) at a given point in time, and for me the real challenge is not to beat one but to beat several, one after the other,” he told a news conference.
“Beating one - I know that I‘m able to do that. Beating two, well, for the time being, I have never done it. So that’s the challenge.”
Despite the Wimbledon loss, Federer has a 9-3 record against the Frenchman overall and Tsonga’s over-reliance on his forehand could again be exposed.
The Frenchman is well aware of that fact.
“I have been working on my backhand since I was the age of five. And it’s a disaster, my backhand, so I‘m working on it,” he said.
Tsonga, still on course to become the first Frenchman to win a grand slam title since Yannick Noah at Roland Garros in 1983, has matched last year’s performance in Paris where he was knocked out in the quarters by Novak Djokovic after wasting four match points.
“It’s great to win again in three sets but in the following round it is going to be dreadful,” Tsonga earlier told a courtside interviewer.
Richard Gasquet, the seventh seed, is another Frenchman left in the draw. He plays Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday.
On a windswept Court Philippe Chatrier, after dark clouds had eaten away the last bit of morning sun, Tsonga whizzed through the first set.
World number 57 Troicki upped the tempo in the second set but cracked in the seventh game when Tsonga caught him off guard with a flicked lob which the Serbian returned into the net.
Tsonga broke decisively in the sixth game of the third set with one of his 17 forehand winners and wrapped it up on his third match point before doing his trademark victory swirl on court. (Editing by Mark Meadows)