Federer upset by Tsonga in Wimbledon quarterfinals

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WIMBLEDON, England — Six-time champion Roger Federer was upset in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second straight year Wednesday, squandering a two-set lead for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament and losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Federer barely looked challenged while winning the first two sets against the 12th-seeded Frenchman. But the Swiss star, who had been 178-0 in matches in which he had won the opening two sets at a major tournament, was broken one time in each of the last three sets.

“It’s kind of hard going out of the tournament that way, but unfortunately it does happen sometimes,” said Federer, who was playing in his 29th straight major quarterfinal. “At least it took him sort of a special performance to beat me, which is somewhat nice.”

Federer may be right. The 16-time Grand Slam champion finished the match with only 11 unforced errors, half as many as Tsonga, but it didn’t help him get close to breaking Tsonga’s serve when he needed it.

“I was two sets down and I break. I did a good game of return and after that it was just amazing,” said Tsonga, who had 63 winners, five more than Federer. “I just played unbelievable, served unbelievable and now I’m here, I’m in semifinal and I can’t believe it.”

Tsonga will face second-seeded Novak Djokovic, who defeated 18-year-old Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Later Wednesday, defending champion Rafael Nadal was playing Mardy Fish, while No. 4 Andy Murray was scheduled to take on Feliciano Lopez on Centre Court.

Federer was seeking to equal Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon singles titles. He breezed through his opening four matches, losing only one set, and played his usual elegant game against Tsonga.

In the first set, Federer earned his one and only break point of the match in Tsonga’s first service game, and converted it. He held the rest of the way, and then won the second set in the tiebreaker.

But Tsonga finally got his first break in the third set, and another in the fourth and another in the fifth.

“He can come up with some good stuff and some poor things at times,” Federer said. “He had basically good return games along the way in the third, fourth, and fifth. I think especially the third set, the break I get is very unusual. He chips back a couple, they stay in.”

Those were the Frenchman’s only three breaks, and they were just enough to send Federer home early again.

Federer has won six titles at the All England Club, including five in a row from 2003-07. He lost to Nadal in the 2008 final in what is considered by many to be one of the greatest matches ever, and then beat Andy Roddick for the championship a year later, winning 16-14 in the fifth set.

Last year, he lost to eventual runner-up Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

“It’s the biggest champion in my sport,” Tsonga said. “He achieved a lot of things and he’s just the best player in the world and I’m just so happy to win against him, especially on grass because it’s maybe one of his favorite surface and I’m just so happy today.”

On Court 1, Djokovic overcame a tough match against his protege, holding on to reach the semifinals for the third time in his career.

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