MELBOURNE, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga left Melbourne Park deflated on Friday after Roger Federer delivered a comprehensive knockout to advance to the Australian Open final.
The Swiss was simply too good for the Frenchman, nicknamed ‘Ali’ due to a resemblance to a young Muhammad Ali, cruising to a 6-2 6-3 6-2 victory and into his eighth successive grand slam final and 22nd in his career.
Federer was merciless as he flicked, jabbed, and counter-punched beautifully around the blue Melbourne Park courts and the end came quickly for Tsonga.
The 10th-seeded Frenchman, who made the 2008 Australian Open final and beat Federer in their last match in Montreal last year, was sheepish afterwards when asked if he thought if there was anyone on the men’s tour who could beat the top seed in his current form.
”I think nobody,“ Tsonga said. ”It was tough to play against him today. He took the ball earlier than me, and he was just better than me.
“He was really good, and that’s it.”
Tsonga had played two five set matches in his run to the semi-finals, having never played a five set match before, though he said it was not the reason why he had been beaten so comprehensively.
“What was wrong? My serve. I was at 55 percent of first serve. My speed serve also and I missed some volleys at the beginning of the match, and after that (it) was tough.”
Tsonga said he had entered the match with a game plan to attack Federer, but he had never had the chance to do so and would just need to “play better” the next time the pair met.
The 24-year-old also had a small piece of advice for finalist Andy Murray, who is seeking to become the first British male to win a grand slam title since Fred Perry won the U.S. Open in 1936.
“Advice? Be ready to run.”
Editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org