World number one Rafael Nadal said he was saddened to see old rival Roger Federer knocked out of Wimbledon as the 16-time Grand Slam title winner slumped to a landmark defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.France’s Tsonga bludgeoned six-time champion Federer to a sensational 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss Wednesday, condemning the Swiss to his first defeat in a Grand Slam when holding a two sets to love lead.”I am sorry for him. He was playing really good tennis in Roland Garros four weeks ago, and during this tournament I saw him play really, really well,” said Nadal.”When you play against a player like Tsonga, who has this fantastic serve, you are under pressure all the time even if you are winning two sets to love.”Tsonga will face Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic in the semi-final on Friday.Friday’s other semi-final will see top seed Rafael Nadal face off against British hope Andy Murray after they comfortably negotiated their respective quarter-finals against Mardy Fish and Feliciano Lopez.But the story of the day was Tsonga’s stunning victory on Centre Court which raises more doubts about Federer’s ability to add to his record haul of 16 Grand Slams as he approaches the twilight of his career.Federer, 29, who was also beaten in the quarter-finals in 2010, insisted he is not a spent force and can capture another major title.”I think I definitely can, yes. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t the case,” he said.”I’m healthy. Even though I took a tough loss today, I don’t feel discouraged in any way. I’ll work harder than ever and hopefully come back extremely strong for Davis Cup next week and then the American summer again.”Before Wednesday, Federer had boasted a 178-0 Grand Slam win-loss record when winning the first two sets.
His only defeats from two sets to love up had come against Lleyton Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup final and in the 2005 Master in Shanghai against David Nalbandian.Tsonga, a defeated quarter-finalist last year, said he surprised himself by his performance.He was only broken once, in the second game of the match, and didn’t give Federer a single break point any of the last three sets.”It was amazing. I played unbelievable. It’s never easy to come back against Roger. I’m so happy, it’s crazy,” said Tsonga, whose best Grand Slam performance was runners-up spot at the 2008 Australian Open.”He’s the biggest champion in the sport. He has achieved so much and is the best player in the world. To be two sets down and come back was unbelievable. I served really well.”Second seed Djokovic clinched a gritty 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic.
Australian Open champion Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon with questions over his frame of mind as he prepared for his first tournament since his remarkable 43-match winning run was brought to an end by Federer at the French Open.But the 24-year-old, who lost in the semi-finals in 2007 and 2010, had too much experience for 18-year-old Tomic, the world number 158 who was the youngest quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986.”In some periods of the match I was not feeling great. I wasn’t moving well,” he said. “I was expending a lot of energy on those rallies but I’m okay.”I need to work a little bit on my game. I hope I can perform a little bit better than I did today.”
In the other half of the draw, Nadal was a comfortable 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victor over 10th seeded Fish, the last American remaining in the tournament.”I’m happy, being in the semi-finals again is a dream for me,” said a satisfied Nadal, who reported no lingering after effects from a foot injury which emerged during his fourth round win over Juan Martin Del Potro.”The treatment worked, I’m fine. The previous match was tougher because I really didn’t know if I had a serious injury,” Nadal said.Nadal will now face Murray in the last four in a repeat of last year’s semi-final won by the Spaniard in straight sets.Murray advanced after crushing Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 but knows he will have to improve if he is to threaten Nadal.”I think Feliciano was a little tired and was struggling with his movement. I’m playing well but I will be pushed more and more in the next matches and I know I will have to up my game,” said Murray. – Yahoonews