Novak Djokovic defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach Wimbledon final
Friday 01 July 2011
New world number one Novak Djokovic fought off a resilient display from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to earn a place in his first Wimbledon final today.
Djokovic, seeded second, battled back from a break down to take a marathon first set before easing his way to a second in front of a packed crowd on Centre Court.
The Serb then wasted two match points in a thrilling third-set tie-break before eventually sealing a 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 6-7 (11/9) 6-3 victory.
Despite being on the back foot during the opening stages, Djokovic performed admirably in the face of some brutal tennis from his towering opponent and will be confirmed as world number one on Monday, regardless of whether he beats either Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final.
There was little to suggest that Tsonga would lose at the start of the match as he came flying out of the blocks with a superb display of attacking tennis.
The Queen's Club finalist started in the same way he had finished against Roger Federer in the previous round, breaking Djokovic in the first game with a series of punishing strokes.
Djokovic, seemingly taken aback by the Frenchman's power, appeared to have no answer to his opponent's beast of a forehand.
However, he provided occasional reminders of his brilliance and grew in confidence towards the end of the first set.
Djokovic wasted two break points in the eighth game, but made no such mistake when Tsonga served for the first set.
Both players held to take the set to a tie-break where Tsonga buckled again at 4-6, finding the net with a volley to give Djokovic the advantage.
Tsonga went from bad to worse as he was broken twice in quick succession to trail 4-1 in the second set.
Djokovic was now in full flow, mixing fierce ground strokes with nonchalant drop shots and he took the second set 6-2.
Mindful that Tsonga had battled back from two sets down against Federer, Djokovic looked to close out the match in the third.
A rollercoaster set followed, with both players breaking each other twice to cause another tie-break.
The tie-break proved just as entertaining as the games that had preceded it, with Djokovic spurning two match points, although the second was missed thanks to a stunning ace from Tsonga.
Tsonga had himself squandered three set points before making the fourth one count, forcing Djokovic to return just over the baseline to win the tie-break 11-9.
The hard work Tsonga had put in at the end of the third set was wasted at the start of the fourth as Djokovic stormed into a 2-0 lead after breaking his opponent to love.
Serving later to stay in the match, Tsonga hit a wonderful lob to take the fourth set into a ninth game, but in truth the Frenchman was looking tired and defeat looked inevitable.
Djokovic kept calm to earn two match points after Tsonga put a forehand into the net, and the Serb was soon kissing the Centre Court turf with joy after Tsonga sent a return wide.
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