French Open: Tsonga hoping to end 27-year wait for French finalist
Tsonga will look to become the first Frenchman since Henri Leconte in 1988 to make the final of Roland Garros when he faces Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals on Thursday.sports Updated: Jun 03, 2015 20:20 IST
The reappearance of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals of the French Open has again raised hopes among home fans of finally seeing one of their own reach the men's final at Roland Garros.
Tsonga won through to his second French Open semi-final in three years by beating Japan's fifth seed Kei Nishikori in five sets on Tuesday, winning 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 in a contest that lasted close to four hours on a packed Court Philippe Chatrier.
The 14th seed, who lost to Spain's David Ferrer in straight sets in the semi-finals in 2013, will now face Swiss eighth seed Stan Wawrinka as he looks to become the first Frenchman to reach the final in Paris since Henri Leconte back in 1988.
France has been looking for one of its own to win the men's title at Roland Garros ever since Yannick Noah was crowned champion back in 1983. But for Tsonga the first objective must be to end a run of four successive Grand Slam semi-final defeats since he reached the Australian Open final in 2008.
On reaching his sixth semi-final in a major, the 30-year-old Tsonga said: "That's wonderful, it's all very nice, but I've not yet won it. The good thing would be to win one again some day, and the earlier the better because then that will do me a lot of good. "My ambition is to go as deep as I can. I play to try and see how far I can go. I never set myself limits in terms of my results."
Tsonga and Wawrinka boast three wins apiece from six previous encounters but the Swiss is fresh from beating compatriot Roger Federer in the last eight and has won his last two meetings with the Frenchman. That includes a victory in four sets as Switzerland beat France in the Davis Cup final in Lille last November.
"Nothing much can happen to me now. I've reached the semis here, and I'm going to play against a better seeded player than me," Tsonga, who defeated fourth seed Tomas Berdych in the fourth round, added. "I'll try to do what I've done since the beginning of the tournament -- be serious and focus on what I can do best. That's about it. I've not got much to lose."
French fans starved of success at their home Grand Slam would suggest otherwise.