Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Archive for tsonga

Djokovic v Tsonga as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s final result:


4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-2)


By Piers Newbery

1211: Good old NoDjo. He thanks everyone and then says to the crowd, “I know you wanted him to win more than me.” That raises a laugh and seems a good way to go out. Thanks for your attention over the last couple of weeks, come back for the French Open armed with some new tennis nicknames.

1201: “Well done Djokovic, step aside Nadal and Federer there is a new force in tennis.”
From cantonabeachsoccer on 606

1158: “Djokovic has proved himself on all surfaces and he’s already reached another Grand Slam final at the US Open. He’s got the shots and he’s a super, super athlete with all the power as well.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

1157: “Enjoyed that last set – it was amazing and Tsonga u r a winner 2 ! Congrats Novak!”
From Elizabeth May Pink via text

Fourth set:

Djokovic 7-6 (7-2) Tsonga
There we have it – a first Grand Slam title for 20-year-old Djokovic. He gets a mini-break on the second point and all but makes sure when Tsonga double-faults to go 5-1 down. Djokovic gets two serves for the title and takes both points to cap a superb performance, before falling to the floor in the traditional manner. There are hugs and tears all around in the Djokovic box, and quite right too.

Djokovic 6-6 Tsonga
Tsonga misses a backhand for 15-15 but responds with a magnificent forehand into the corner and a big service winner. The Frenchman then chooses a bad time for his first double fault of the evening but hangs on and it’s a tie-break. My, what tension.

1143: “You forgot NadRa!! (See 1128 entry) How could you!!”
From Lauren, leeds, via text (Er, yeah)

Djokovic 6-5 Tsonga
Djokovic is pulled wide and makes a forehand error for 30-30, and he then sticks a regulation backhand into the net. It’s break point but Djokovic gets away with it after a poor drop shot as Tsonga fails to put away a mid-court ball and NoDjo takes the volley. He serves out for a huge hold.

1138: “Yannick Noah is indeed the last French player to win a set in a Grand Slam final (1041 entry) when he won the French Open in 1983. Both Henri Leconte and Cédric Pioline (twice) reached finals, but they were defeated in straight sets.”
From meef01 on 606

Djokovic 5-5 Tsonga
Tsonga plays a superb off-forehand winner when stumbling backwards at 15-15 and moments later he has the game. Good stuff, JoTso.

Djokovic 5-4 Tsonga
Another excellent hold from Djokovic, who throws in a fine volley off his toes, and Tsonga must hold to keep the match alive.

1131: “It’s 20 years since a five-set final here, hard to believe. Me against Wilander.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra (He lost, kids. Sorry Pat)

Djokovic 4-4 Tsonga
Great work from Tsonga who is under huge pressure at 30-30 but holds his nerve, taking the game with a big serve.

1128: “New names for players. NoDjo, JoTso, RFed. Anymore??”
From Vicky via text (Loads – Nalbo, Muzza, NiDav, A-Rod, Gonzo, Baggy, Boggy, Ljubo. I have too much time on my hands)

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
Well, NoDjo answers any questions about his fitness with a superb game rounded off with a beautiful drop volley on the stretch.

1125: “I see what you did there – whether or not it goes to a fifth set you’ve made correct prediction (see 1-0 entry). You wily thing.”
From anon via text (Rumbled. And don’t call me Wily)

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
Wallop. Tsonga holds serve to love and now we’ll see how Djokjovic is doing after his lengthy treatment session.

1122: “I guess it’s loss of a bit of condition. I’m not a big fan of players being able to do this. I don’t think he’s in any physical danger at all and I think he’s gaining an unfair advantage just when the momentum seemed to be going a little bit with Tsonga.”
From BBC Sport’s Andrew Castle

1117: “Its a bit like watching Ali vs Screech from saved by the bell.. ”
From anon via text

Djokovic 3-2 Tsonga
Djokovic really isn’t moving too well now, in fact both men look petty shattered. A net cord goes against Tsonga as he falls to 40-15 behind before battling back for deuce. NoDjo holds on with a big second serve and asks fro the trainer at the changeover.

1113: “Regarding the text from Nathan of Cardiff at 1054, he’s referring to the Magpie rhyme. You know, the one that goes, “1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for a girl … ” and all that. Although, Tsonga would just be wishing for 1 beak to come back into this game.”
From silverplumes on 606

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
Look out – the big man from Le Mans appears to be back and now it’s Djokovic who is hobbling around after possibly tweaking a hamstring. Or getting cramp. Maybe he’s broken a nail, I don’t know. Anyway, Tsonga holds to love.

Djokovic 2-1 Tsonga
Tsonga has a glimpse of a chance at 40-30 down but blazes a forehand into the tram lines and Djokovic moves ahead again.

1104: “Magpies? Noah? Is the only way to get on this page to talk utter nonsense?!”
From Joe, london, via text (Yep)

1103: “I saw many lone magpies this morning and saluted them all!! Come on djokovic!! I wish nadal was in the final.”
From anon via text

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
There are more signs of tiredness from Tsonga but he hangs on.

Djokovic 1-0 Tsonga
NoDjo absolutely creams a forehand for a winner at 40-0 and he looks in great form now. I’ve just remembered I predicted Djokovic in four sets. I’ve never got a prediction right in my life, so prepare for a fifth set.

Third set:

Djokovic 6-3 Tsonga
A very tired looking mid-court forehand into the net suggests Tsonga is there for the taking at 0-30. He puts up a desperate lob that is eventually called out and fails with a challenge. Tsonga saves the first two set points, firing a cross-court pass on the second, and Djokovic nets a backhand on the third to the delight of most of the crowd.

Djokovic is unconcerned and smacks yet another backhand down the line. Set point number four – but his attempted lob is poor and Tsonga smashes it away. A fifth chance arrives and this time Tsonga saves it with as service winner. Never fear, set point number six – cue a Tsonga drop volley. Finally, Djokovic takes the set when forcing a Tsonga error on the volley. Phew.

1054: “I just saw 2 magpies out my window. In the song 2s for joy. Come on tsonga.”
From Nathan, cardiff, via text (I’ve no idea either)

Djokovic 5-3 Tsonga
A brilliant backhand down the line seals a solid hold for Djokovic and he looks very much on course for the set now.

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
A sweeping forehand gives Tsonga the game to 30 and keeps him in touch on this set.

1041: “Djokovic on a roll now, hope Tsonga cn respond. He’s th 1st Fr finalist 2 win a set since Noah!”
From French fan via text

Djokovic 4-2 Tsonga
Aaah, that’s better. Djokovic is in a bit of trouble at 15-30 but then sticks a backhand return into the net. Moments later, Tsonga complains for the second time today about how long Djokovic takes to serve but Carlos Ramos is not impressed and the Serb goes on to hold.

1037: “Why all this fuss about both players names starting with a silent letter? (See 1029 entry) They dont. We brits are just bad at languages.”
From anon via text

Djokovic 3-2 Tsonga
Tsonga holds to 15, very good. I need a comfort break.

Djokovic 3-1 Tsonga
Djokovic holds to 15. The massed ranks of Djokovics in the stands continue to applaud on thier feet. They’re all wearing matching tracksuits, making them easy to pick out. Lovely.

1029: “Hey Piers, is this the first final ever in which: Both players’ surnames’ first letter is silent (D in Djokovic and T in Tsonga) And in which both players’ surnames’ first vowel is an o? Cheers.”
From Torres’ right peg on 606 (Brilliant questions both. Dunno.)

Djokovic 2-1 Tsonga
The trademark Djokovic backhand down the line comes out and he has two break points at 15-40. The first disappears with a forehand that goes long and Tsonga hits an ace on the second. A third break point comes along and after a lengthy rally, Tsonga sends a forehand wide.

1023: “Goodness knows what odds Tsonga was at the start of the tournament amid all the Murray hype! 100-1?”
From Ken, Aberdeen, via text

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
I hate apostrophes. Anyway, Djokovic holds just as impressively and both men look sharp in this vital set.

Djokovic 0-1 Tsonga
A good solid start to the third set from Tsonga on serve, no problem. In the middle of this madness I’m emailed by a friend wanting me to help him with his son’s English homework. This country.

Second set:

1017: “Tsonga has to get his serve working again but, to be honest, he’s just been a bit loose. It’s a critical time now and he wants some big serves and to tighten up that forehand.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

Djokovic 6-4 Tsonga
Tight, shmite. Djokovic hits two aces on his way to a mightily imrpessive love hold and we’re all square.

Djokovic 5-4 Tsonga
A few signs of irritation come from Tsonga as he continues to struggle a bit, but he holds serve to force Djokovic to serve out, and the Serb has been know to get tight. Haven’t we all?

1009: “Tsonga is playin as if hes no 3 in the world and ndjo playin as if its his 1st ever final. Needs this set 2 hav any chance.”
From J in crawley via text

Djokovic 5-3 Tsonga
Suddenly it’s Tsonga who has lost his mojo, whatever that is. The errors start to flow from his previously awesome forehand and Djokovic consolidates the break of serve.

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
He’s back! After being on the wrong ending of a pummelling for most of the evening, Djokovic fires a backhand return past Tsonga to get to 15-40 and two break points. At last we have some fire from the Serb and he takes his chance when Tsonga misses a forehand.

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
Djokovic gets a much-needed love service game.

0958: “Beautiful style and sense of purpose from Tsonga! He is inventive and incredibly calm considering he is playing his first ever final of an ATP tournament (let alone a GS).”
From UncleAdrian on 606

Djokovic 2-3 Tsonga
Djokovic chases down a drop shot to get to deuce but Tsonga comes up with the deadly one-two combination of serve-forehand and comes through, giving it some “Allez!” Djokovic, meanwhile, wanders off court for the changeover shaking his head.

0954: Our man in the Rod Laver Arena press room tells me that the French reporters went bananas as Tsonga took the first set, screaming “Allez”, “Magnifique” etc etc. Then one of them turned around to our man and said: “This could have been you, but your guy lost on day one to our guy”. Nice.

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
It’s not often that Djokovic is the more low-key of the players on court but it’s not just Tsonga’s play that is giving him the edge, it’s his sheer charisma that seems to have stunned NoDjo. The third seed does well to come back from 0-30 but he’s finding this tougher and tougher.

0948: “Tsonga was born in Le Mans so is bound to win if it becomes a trial of endurance. Also he has a brother named Enzo.”
From Marc, Liverpool, via text

Djokovic 1-2 Tsonga
Tsonga holds with more big serving and one very sharp backhand volley.

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
A ddogy forehand sees Djokovic slip to 15-30 and he does well to get himself out of trouble, but he’s looking very flat at the moment.

Djokovic 0-1 Tsonga
Tsonga holds confidently and Djokovic looks in shock(ovic). Sorry about that.

First set:

0938: “After seeing Tsonga last year, i said ‘that boy will be top ten in no time’. Where would a win here put him in the rankings? Is this his best surface do we know?”
from anon via text (It’s like the Spanish inquisition – apparently a win would put Tsonga ninth in the world, up from 38, and I’m guessing it’s his favourite surface now)

0937: “Those last two points were two of the best you will ever see. Just an excellent set of tennis, and to finish like this – it’s a joke, ridiculous.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

Djokovic 4-6 Tsonga
Tsonga really takes charge with a fierce backhand on his way to 0-30 ahead and is unlucky when an apparent forehand winner jumps off the net-cord and goes out. Djokovic gets back to 30-30 but Tsonga comes up with a stunning forehand winner off a smash, and then works the crowd with some wild celebrations. Good stuff. It’s set point, and he makes it with an amazing lob on the run. Tsonga’s dad then gets in on the fist-pumping act and the place goes wild.

Djokovic 4-5 Tsonga
The Tsonga serve is up and running now – three aces in a row give him a comfortable hold and he certainly has the edge right now.

Djokovic 4-4 Tsonga
Another close Djokovic service game is in the balance at 40-30 when Tsonga complains to the umpire about the time it takes for the Serb to serve, after his endless ball bouncing. That should spice things up a bit. Tsonga misses a makeable forehand at deuce and Djokovic wallops an ace to hold.

Djokovic 3-4 Tsonga
Blimey, we’ve been going 35 minutes and played seven games. Wish I’d made a packed lunch now. Anyway, Tsonga is in a bit of trouble at 15-30 but chooses a good time to smack down his first two aces of the match and holds from deuce.

0917: “French Fan: Bonjour. If Tsonga wins this 1, I’ll play tennis agn – which I haven’t in 4 yrs. Allez”
From Jo 🙂 via text

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
More laughter all round over a line call, which involves an overrule, a Hawkeye challenge and apparently a joke from umpire Carlos Ramos that I couldn’t hear. The crowd are in stitches. Are we sure Mansour Bahrami isn’t there somewhere? When everyone pulls themselves together, Djokovic holds.

0913: “Five games of highly entertaining tennis given the occasion. Tsonga was up early and practising on Rod Laver Arena at 9am, while Djokovic was here only a few hours ago.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Djokovic 2-3 Tsonga
The first rally is another belter – a bit like watching one of those ‘hilarious’ exhibitions with Mansour Bahrami but performed by two brilliant athletes under the age of 60. Tsonga leaps for a smash a la Sampras and Djokvic does well to reach it and send up a lob, but Tsonga leaps even higher and sticks it away. Another tight game goes to deuce but the Frenchman holds on, his parents clapping away furiously in the stands.

0910: “I’m backing Tsonga for this one. I feel though that Djoko’s experience may do something. But didn’t Rafa have that experience as well…?”
From Maxxfoot on 606

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
Djokovic still looks a little edgy, making the first double fault of the match when 30-0 clear, and Tsonga puts the pressure on with a fabulous drop volley. Djokovic then nets a forehand and it’s break point again, but this time the Serb comes up with an ace down the middle. He then digs out a seemingly miraculous cross-court backhand pass but the umpire overrules, and Hawkeye backs him up. Break point number two and in an epic point, NoDjo repeats the backhand from the previous rally and this time makes it. Incredible stuff. A woeful drop shot follows soon after but Djokovic comes through.

0857: “Pressure affects players in different ways – my feet always used to turn to lead, I felt like I couldn’t move, so I’d just charge into the net to try and do something.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

Djokovic 1-2 Tsonga
Apparently Cedric Pioline has flown in especially to see his young countryman in action. Oh, the glamour. Tsonga withstands the pressure of being under the former Wimbledon finalists’s gaze by holding to 15 in a much more impressive game.

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
Tsonga makes the first Hawkeye challenge of the day on a Djokovic serve and gets it right – the ball was well wide – but NoDjo wins the replayed point anyway. This time it’s the Serb who looks tight, though, when he spoons a forehand way wide from 30-30 and then nets a backhand. Tsonga gets the break back and Djokovic looks less than pleased.

Djokovic 1-0 Tsonga
Tsonga looks like he’s carrying on where he left off against Nadal when a big forehand and winning serve get him to 30-15, but he then sends a couple of regulation forehands long. Nerves, surely. It’s an early break point for Djokovic and he takes it with a sweeping forehand into the corner.

0845: “We’ve seen the potential of Tsonga in the last few years but to me it’s as if he’s matured as a player during these two weeks. Quite remarkable.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

0842: “Experience counts and you have to favour Novak initially but you have to see how it starts in the first set. If Jo-Wilfried can handle it, then it’s going to be on.”
Jim Courier on 5 Live Sports Extra

0840: “Djokovic is very popular. He’s a good kid, plays great tennis and is fun in front of the camera, but the bottom line is he’s done his talking with his racket.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

0838: They step out on Rod laver Arena to a huge cheer, Tsonga already jumping around in excitement. There look to be large French and Serbian contingents in the crowd so there should be a good atmosphere.

0836: The two players are stopped on their way onto court for a brief word with Todd Woodbridge. “It’s very exciting and I’ll do my best,” says Tsonga. And Djokovic adds: “It’s going to be very difficult but I’m playing against someone who doesn’t have anything to lose.” So there you go.

0833: “Tsonga has taken it all in his stride. He has just emerged from the pack to become the first of the young Frenchmen to reach a Grand Slam final. There’s no doubt he’s great for the game, a superstar in the making.”
BBC Sport’s Andrew Castle

0828: Those who were with me yesterday will remember the choir of angelic little Aussies singing thier national anthem while bizarrely dressed as chefs. Well look out, the Australian yoof are back, and a cracking rendition it is too.

0825: Apparently that wasn’t The Veronicas, they were on earlier and are a couple of vivacious twin girls. That was Evermore. Wish I’d got here a bit earlier. Anyway, you still have time to follow the match on BBC TWO, 5 Live Sports Extra, or via the streaming on this website. You really can’t beat text-based coverage of tennis though.

0820: We’re being treated to music on the Rod Laver Arena from a band that our woman in the stadium, Caroline Cheese, informs me are called The Veronicas. I wouldn’t bother making a note of the name.

0815: Morning everyone, welcome to a sun-drenched Melbourne for the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Via Shepherd’s Bush.

It’s not the final anyone would have predicted but given the pair’s thumping of top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the semis, it certainly features two worthy contenders.

The pair have never played each other before but world number three Djokovic starts as favourite on paper, having won seven career titles and reached last year’s US Open final.

Game isn’t played on paper though, is it? It’s played on good old-fashioned Plexicushion, something which is clearly to Tsonga’s liking.

He may be unseeded and playing in his first senior final of any kind but he has seen off Andy Murray, Richard Gasquet, Mikhail Youzhny and demolished Nadal in the past fortnight.

So who’s going to win? I’m going for Djokovic in four, but exactly a year ago I tipped Fernando Gonzalez to beat Federer in the final. Idiot.

Story from BBC SPORT


Tsonga v Nadal as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s semi-final result:

J-W TSONGA (Fra) bt R NADAL (Spa)

6-2 6-3 6-2

By Phil Harlow


1050: “What a man, what a player! Maybe Andy Murray will lose to the eventual champion?”
Ben in Oxford via text

“This man is going to be a megastar now. Nadal has never been beaten like this – not this easily, not in a Grand Slam and not when he has been playing so well.”
BBC Sport commentator John Lloyd

Tsonga 6-2 Nadal
The two players emerge from their seats and Tsonga gets an absolute hero’s reception from the crowd.

A Nadal mistake and an accurate overhead volley put Tsonga 30-0 up. Nadal, ever the fighter, fires a beautiful passing shot and pumps his fist like a super-charged Tim Henman.

But on the next point Nadal plays an air shot as the sheer ferocity of Tsonga’s volley takes him by surprise.

And, fittingly, the Frenchman seals it with yet another ace. The crowd is on its feet and Tsonga applauds them back.

Tsonga 5-2 Nadal
A fantastic forehand winner leaves Nadal rooted to the spot as Tsonga goes 40-15 up with some glorious tennis.

Next point sees Nadal go long with a backhand and Tsonga, now two breaks up, is just one game away from the final.

1040: “It’s not really so surprising. Nadal has had no serious challenges up until now and his record on hard courts is poor. All credit to JWT though.”
Jo, Bristol via text

Tsonga 4-2 Nadal
Nadal is looking all at sea in Melbourne. A net cord sees the ball bounce enticingly in the middle of the court but the world number two’s attempted drop shot hits the net about a foot off the floor.

Another mistake on the next shot from Nadal and it’s another easy hold for Tsonga.

Tsonga 3-2 Nadal
Not a great game from Tsonga as Nadal holds without too much trouble. But the big man knows that the telling blow has already been struck and that holding his serve from here on in will be enough to take him into the final.

1034: “We realised Tsonga was good, but we didn’t know he was this good.”
BBC Sport commentator Sam Smith

Tsonga 3-1 Nadal
Tsonga is going from strength to strength on the big stage as he holds to love.

A couple of rash – even angry – shots from Nadal give the impression that he is starting to realise that the game is up – and he’s not happy about it.

Tsonga 2-1 Nadal
That game was just a nightmare from start to finish for Nadal as he handed Tsonga the break in the third.

It was largely self-inflicted from Nadal as he misses the target from the net with 90% of the court to aim at. Another mistake at 40-15 down and that’s that. The set and the match are Tsonga’s for the taking.

1026: “Tsonga’s stinging like a bee now! Can he finish it off?”
Helen via text

Tennis purists – that’s a reference to Tsonga doppelganger Muhammad Ali, by the way.

Tsonga 1-1 Nadal
Nadal is playing like a man possessed as he goes 40-15 up on Tsonga’s serve with some good old-fashioned hard work, but Tsonga battles back to deuce, albeit with some good luck.

The umpire overrules on a Tsonga serve and the Frenchman is furious, shouting “you are wrong” at the official. To be fair, the overrule was wrong.

Tsonga responds with a great ace and then takes the next point to seal the game. Top stuff under pressure from Tsonga.

1019: “This is fantastic for tennis. For a couple of years it has been ‘same old, same old’ and finally we could have someone fresh and exciting breaking through.”
craigtenniscoach on 606

Tsonga 0-1 Nadal
After another trip to the bathroom for Tsonga, Nadal comes out fired up and takes the first game of the set confidently.

Nadal will need to come from two sets down for the fourth time in his career if he is to make Sunday’s final.

1014: “Let’s reinstall some faith in Nadal, our champion who will make Tsonga fall!”
Ryan B via text


Tsonga 6-3 Nadal
Simply brilliant stuff from Tsonga as he holds to love to seal the second set. The crowd go billy bananas and Tsonga is rather pleased about things as well.

Tsonga 5-3 Nadal
Nadal is psyching himself up like he’s about to take Tsonga, a Muhammad Ali look-a-like, lest we forget – on in the boxing ring, hitting himself in the chest after winning a point.

But Tsonga wins his way to a break point courtesy of a drop shot volley over his shoulder that was so beautiful it should be on the front cover of Vogue. He makes no mistake as he smashes an overhead volley into the ground and over Nadal’s racquet.

Brilliant stuff, and the fans in Rod Laver Arena can sense they’re watching something special here.

Tsonga 4-3 Nadal
Tsonga never lets Nadal get into the game as he wins it comfortably. Before the game started, he just had a quick word with the umpire about Nadal’s fidgeting in-between points when returning. A good sign that he will not be intimidated by the star facing him across the net.

Tsonga 3-3 Nadal
The crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena is really warming to Tsonga’s exuberance before an unforced error at 30-30 takes the wind out of his sails a little.

He soon gets the good people of Melbourne going again as a delightful drop shot gives him the initiative to take the game to deuce. But Nadal is not in the mood to give up on this and he does the necessary to hold again.

Tsonga 3-2 Nadal
Tsonga is making this look – well not easy, but comfortable. Nobody would be able to tell which player was appearing in his first Grand Slam semi-final. this is only his fifth major, don’t forget.

Tsonga 2-2 Nadal
Nadal holds comfortably for the first time in a little while. Is he finally playing himself into this match after such a slow start?

0948: “Tsonga is a joy to watch… let’s hope he can beat Djokovic in the final!”
Estesark on 606

0946: “How long will it be before the crowd adopt a Black Lace-inspired ‘Do do do… come on and do the Tsonga’? Sorry, I’ll get my coat…”
Elvis via text

Tsonga 2-1 Nadal
A simply breathtaking shot from Tsonga as he plays a half-volley drop-shot from Nadal’s return that catches the Spaniard off guard.

A couple of mistakes from the big man takes it to deuce – the first time in the match that Nadal has had him under any kind of serious pressure – but an ace and a long forehand from Nadal see him hold.

Tsonga 1-1 Nadal
Tsonga – the son of a Congolese international handball player, in case you were wondering – gets a slice of luck as Nadal trips over his own feet chasing an invitingly bouncing ball at 30-30.

Nadal challenges a call at break-point down and gets it right by approximately 0.000002 millimetres to take it to deuce. He has to save another two break points, but eventually holds on to his serve.

Tsonga 1-0 Nadal
Tsonga went for a comfort break at the end of the last set, but it is business as usual as he holds to love to start the second set with a bang.

Nadal is just not putting his opponent’s serve under any kind of pressure at the moment, but surely his experience will help him to find a way to change the dynamics of this match.


0924: “This is simply brilliant stuff that Tsonga’s showing.”
Gintonic4all on 606

Tsonga 6-2 Nadal
A very sloppy overhead from Nadal sets the tone for the game as Tsonga races 40-0 up to give himself three set points.

At the first time of asking, he smashes yet another forehand winner past Nadal to break to love and seal a massively impressive opening set. That’s the first set Nadal has dropped all tournament.

0919: “This just shows what a great chance Andy Murray would have had if he’d beaten Tsonga.”
James, Southampton via text

Don’t let’s spoil the fun, James….

Tsonga 5-2 Nadal
Some of Tsonga’s forehands are frightening to behold, hit with astonishing power and athleticism. Nadal, fighting for everything as ever, gets to 30-30 but the Frenchman wins two comfortable points to move within sight of the first set.

Tsonga 4-2 Nadal
Nadal gets the benefit of an over-rule from the umpire on an ace and goes onto hold serve for the second time. He still doesn’t look entirely comfortable out there though.

Tsonga 4-1 Nadal
Another ace from Tsonga and two perfect serve and volley points put him into a 40-0 lead. He seals it with a third ace of the match for a love service game. Have some of that.

Tsonga 3-1 Nadal
The Tsonga forehand is quite some weapon, but Nadal’s backhand is not too shabby either. Tsonga is looking to target the serve, but Nadal ups his game a little to get on the scoreboard.

Tsonga 3-0 Nadal
Tsonga’s serve is causing Nadal problems already with the world number two struggling to get the ball back into play.

An unreachable ace finishes the game off and it’s a dream start for the unseeded player. Blimey.

Tsonga 2-0 Nadal
Nadal starts off with a double fault and then a beautiful volley from Tsonga puts the Frenchman 30-0 up. Nadal – whose ability to get the ball back over the net beggars belief at times – fights back to 30-30 before another Tsonga volley gives him the first break point of the match.

A fabulous reaction volley from almost point-blank range at the net sees him take it. What a start from the Frenchman.

Tsonga 1-0 Nadal
An inauspicious start for Tsonga as he goes 30-0 down on his serve, but some powerful hitting to the furthest reaches of the court moves Nadal around and sees him take four points in a row to seal the game.

0848: We’re pretty much there. Last drinks are drunk and sweat is towelled off as Tsonga prepares to start the match.

0844: The roof is half closed in Melbourne, by the way, to save time in the event of rain. Not sure if that will have any impact whatsoever, to be honest with you.

0842: Nadal does his traditional zig-zagging sprint back to the baseline and the pair start to knock a few balls about as the tension builds.

0840; A bit of psychological warfare from Nadal? The Spaniard keeps Tsonga waiting for nearly two minutes as he quaffs a drink on the sidelines before jogging out for the coin toss.

Tsonga wins the toss and opts to serve first.

0838: After a Spinal Tap-esque wander around the backstage corridors, Tsonga and Nadal emerge to massive cheers from the Melbourne crowd.

0835: Both players are buttonholed by an Australian journo on their (incredibly long) walk to the Rod Laver Arena.

Breaking news: both players expect “a very tough match”.

0833: Almost every seat at the is taken as the fans wait for the players to emerge, and the TV cameramen – as is their usual way – focus on several attractive young ladies in the crowd. I take no notice, of course.

0830: This match sees the world number two taking on Tsonga, a man ranked 36 places below him in the ATP list. But will that show out on court given Tsonga’s tremendous form in getting to the last four?

0825: What a game we have in prospect here. Jo-Wilfried was magnifique in his quarter-final demolition of Mikhail Youzhny, while Nadal overwhelmed Jarkko Nieminen with muscular brutality.

Which man will be left standing at the end of this one?

Story from BBC SPORT

Tsonga v Youzhny as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s quarter-final result:


7-5 6-0 7-6


By Tom Fordyce

Tsonga 7-6 Youzhny
He’s done it! Youz looked like he was going to claw a set back, but Tsonga stayed strong to stick away two wonderful volleys. At match point Youzhny dinks a backhand long, and as the out call comes in, Tsonga collapses to the deck with joy. Fantastic performance, and the Aussie crowd are going looperoo.

Tsonga 6-6 Youzhny
Heartening battling from the downbeat Russian, who could have capitulated at 30-30 but instead produced his best point of the match. A yell and bellow take him into the tie-break.

Tsonga 6-5 Youzhny
Brilliant from the prowling Frenchman. Youz has a chance at 15-15 but two deep, sizzling forehands open up smash-volley chances at the net. Youz staring down the barrell again.

Tsonga 5-5 Youzhny
Hats off to Micky. Tsonga has him at deuce with teeth bared, but he rips a forehand cross-court and forces a rare error with another vice-like point. A Russian roar of “Come on!” echoes around the Rod Laver Arena.

Tsonga 5-4 Youzhny
Lordy – that didn’t take long – J-W swats Youz aside in mere easy-breathing moments. Just one game away from his first Grand Slam semi now, and Youz is wobbling on the precipice.

Tsonga 4-4 Youzhny
Youz holds in the face of another Songers onslaught, but the seams are leaking and rivets popping out all over the place.

Tsonga 4-3 Youzhny
The Songers serve comes under pressure for the very first time as a Youz volley at full stretch works a deuce. Another deuce follows as Song slips before normal service is resumed with a cold-hearted efficiency.

Tsonga 3-3 Youzhny
Mock celebrations from Youz as a lucky net-cord allows him to stagger across the line after four strength-sapping deuces. Songers had a big fat bite at a break point there but thrashed his backhand onto the tape.

Tsonga 3-2 Youzhny
What a volley from J-W – Youz smashes the ball at his chest, but he throws his racquet out and somehow controls the ball into the corner as Youz looks on in dejected astonishment. Back at his chair, it’s banana o’clock.

Tsonga 2-2 Youzhny
Let’s look on the bright side – at least he’s holding his own serve now. Although that’s about it.

Tsonga 2-1 Youzhny
The respite is brief – Tsonga rattles through his own service game in utterly unflustered fashion. What can Youz do about this, short of hurdling the net and launching into his rival with a flurry of blows?

Tsonga 1-1 Youzhny
After nine games of pain, Youz finally gets back on the board. He throws his head back and howls at the Melbourne night sky.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
Youz is moving like a man in a bad dream. He’s yet to work a single break point or even deuce on the Tsonga serve, and is now mumbling under his breath in slightly deranged fashion.


Tsonga 6-0 Youzhny
No luck at all for Mick – a Tsonga backhand clips the tape and drops just over the net to set up yet another break point, before a loopy forehand dips late to bite the edge of the line and seal the set. Youzhny’s eyes have glazed over, and he staggers off to t he lockers for a mind-sharpening courtesy break.

Tsonga 5-0 Youzhny
A dismissive fifth ace from J-W, and he’s on the brink of a two-set lead here. The crowd are warming to his mix of power and cunning – particularly four boisterous Frenchmen waving a tricolour with foamy-lipped frenzy.

Tsonga 4-0 Youzhny
Shocker for Micky. He blasts a forehand long to give away his third service game in a row, and stands there in misery as Coach Sobkin grimaces like a man with an elephant on his toe.

Tsonga 3-0 Youzhny
The emergency unwrapping makes no difference. Tsonga is away like a runaway express, and Youzhny can’t get close to the brakes.

Tsonga 2-0 Youzhny
Joyous tennis from the 22-year-old Frenchman – a wonderful running top-spin lob over the scrambling Mick to smash-and-grab his fourth game on the bounce. Mick signals to the umpire that he needs assistance, and he hobbles to his chair before grabbing some scissors and slicing off the thick layers of tape he had bound around his ankles. As the umpire gives him the hurry-up, the mummy returns.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
J-W’s doing to Youz exactly what he did to Andy Murray in the first round – dictating the points with a muscular meanness. Can he keep these levels up?


Tsonga 7-5 Youzhny
Brilliant steal from Tsonga, barrelling a brutal backhand across Youzhny’s chest to snatch the break and set in the blink of an eye. He celebrates with a Montyesque leap and jogs back to his chair with a satisfied frown.

Tsonga 6-5 Youzhny
J-W’s loving every second of this. His forehand is an absolute thumper, and he’s not giving Mick a glimmer of a chance. On the Ali lookalikey tip, the most obvious difference between the two is the nose. Rather than the noble mashed beak of Muhammad, J-W’s got a delicate little ski-jump.

Tsonga 5-5 Youzhny
The first sniff of a chance for Songers, working a 0-30 advantage before Youz creams a forehand down the line and drifts in a backhand for 30-30. Songers sets up a break point with his meaty forehand, Youz saves it with deep serve wide to the backhand and stays in the set when Songers goes longers with a mis-hit forehand from beyond the baseline.

Tsonga 5-4 Youzhny
J-W’s landing 80% of his first serves; Micky 90%. That’s why the break point has been as absent as a British female player from Wimbledon’s second week.

Tsonga 4-4 Youzhny
Micky goes to love, too, and we could have a ripper on our hands here. J-W broods on the baseline as the first shouts of, “Allez Tsong-gah!” go up from the stands.

Tsonga 4-3 Youzhny
Another love service game from the Frenchman. Youzhny, if you haven’t seen him before, looks a little like a more butch version of Michael Owen. Apparently he was a ball-boy at the Russia v USA Davis Cup final in Moscow in 1995. He even had his photo taken with Pete Sampras.

Tsonga 3-3 Youzhny
J-W buries a backhand cross-court to worry Mick, but the Russian stands tall on his serve to bring us level. Applause from his courtside coach, Boris Sobkin, who’s been working with him since he was ten years old.

Tsonga 3-2 Youzhny
Raking forehand from J-W to smooth over a potential hitch at 15-30, with booming serves to polish things off. His choice of refresco at the change-over is a pale orange liquid, and he sips with a face straight off the poker table.

Tsonga 2-2 Youzhny
Steady again from Mick, who’s sporting the classic tennis sock – a white mid-calf number with elasticated top.

Tsonga 2-1 Youzhny
Songers has dropped just one point on his serve so far. Apparently his nickname as a junior was Muhammad Ali, owing to his slight likeness to the Greatest Sportsman Ever (TM).

Tsonga 1-1 Youzhny
Micky does the same with minimum fuss. As you were, gentlemen.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
Tsonga starts confidently, cruising his way through his first service game without breaking a bead.

1035: After the briefest of breathers, we’re almost off again. Will the chaps be able to hit the ball as hard as Sharapova? The Russian thrashed Justine Henin – must have given her compatriot Mikhail Youzhny a big lift as he seeks to reach the semi-finals.

By the way, you can also watch the action live on BBC Interactive or listen to commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra.

Story from BBC SPORT