Jo-Wilfried Tsonga through to French Open semi-finals
Last Updated: 05/06/15 8:25am
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled past Kei Nishikori in five sets to reach the French Open semi-finals.
The Frenchman raced into a two-set lead before Nishikori found a second wind to draw the match level but some strong serving in the final set was enough for Tsonga to progress 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3.
It was a match full of incident as three spectators were injured after a large piece of metal came down in high winds on Court Philippe Chatrier during the quarter-final, suspending the play for 40 minutes.
Tsonga will play Stanislas Wawrinka in the semis after he beat fellow Swiss Roger Federer in the day's other quarter-final.
Tsonga was out the traps like a greyhound in the opening stages, pulverising his opponents with some powerful serving and forceful ground strokes.
The 2013 semi-finalist was one set up and leading 5-2 in the second before play was held up for around 40 minutes because of the part of the roof falling in on the spectators.
A long rectangular side panel fell from a commentary box terrace on to the crowd, forcing the evacuation of two rows of seats at the upper end of Court Philippe Chatrier.
The delay in play was certainly in favour of Nisikori, who despite, inevitably, losing the second set, found his A-game after the break in play.
The Japanese, who was aiming to become the first player from his country to reach a French Open semi-final in 82 years, turned on the style with some intricate play around the net to stun the home crowd and reel off back-to-back sets.
The 14th seed Frenchman looked in trouble going into the last set but the roar of the home crowd spurred him on and he responded by upping his service game.
His power was just too much for a tiring Nishikori, who failed to land a serious blow as Tsonga bruised his way to a final set 6-3 victory and celebrated by collapsing to the Philippe Chatrier clay before ripping off his shirt and hurling it into the ground.
He is now just two games away from becoming France’s first French Open winner since Yannick Noah in 1983.
"You're going to be praised when you reach semis at Roland Garros, as if you had already won the tournament," Tsonga said.
"Whereas, in fact, well, to me it's not over yet."