Fernando Verdasco dumped a second top-five seed out of the Australian Open today to book himself a semi-final against either Rafael Nadal or Gilles Simon.
After sending British number one and fourth seed Andy Murray packing in the fourth round, the left-handed Spaniard added last year's runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to his list of conquests, defeating the fifth-seeded Frenchman 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 6-2.
As he had against Murray, the Spaniard blasted his opponent off the court with his bullet-like serves and superb winners.
The 25-year-old prevented Tsonga finding any sort of rhythm as he dictated the clash.
The first set was extremely tight and Verdasco, whose first serve faltered early on, had to stave off three break points in the seventh game to remain on level terms.
Every time Tsonga, who had also lost his only previous meeting with Verdasco, looked to edge ahead, unforced errors kept him in check - he made 20 alone in the first set.
But with neither player able to get the breakthrough, a tie-break was inevitable and Verdasco fired down two aces and a superb passing shot by a rooted Tsonga, whose errors helped the Spaniard to a 7-2 score.
It was the Frenchman who got the early lead in the second set when Verdasco fired a volley well wide after Tsonga had scrambled well on defence.
When the fifth seed held his serve in the next game he was 5-2 up and eventually served out the set, taking it when Verdasco found the net with a forehand.
The third set was all Verdasco though, as his serve became more and more difficult for Tsonga to return and he was able to force the match his way.
Balls were flying long and wide off the Frenchman's racquet at regular intervals. He was broken in the second game and the fourth before clawing back a game to trail 4-1.
There was the odd flash of brilliance, like a well-placed passing shot on the run and a moment of magic when he returned the ball through his legs, but they were few and far between.
Having got back to 4-2 he put Verdasco under huge pressure but could not convert two separate break point opportunities and although he held serve to make it 5-3 he was unable to stop the third set from going to his opponent.
Tsonga was down an early break in the fourth too, and although he had his opportunities to break back in the sixth game he failed to do so and was broken again in the seventh, handing Verdasco the opportunity to serve for the match which he did, fittingly, with an ace.Reuse content