|Fourth seed Murray, right, reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the third year in a row after defeating Lopez [AFP]|
France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has sent six-time champion Roger Federer crashing out of Wimbledon to set-up a semi-final showdown with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
Twelfth seed Tsonga bludgeoned third seed Federer to a sensational 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss, condemning the Swiss to his first defeat in a Grand Slam when holding a two sets to love lead.
The Centre Court shock will also create more doubts over the 29-year-old’s ability to add to his 16 Grand Slams, the last of which came at the 2010 Australian Open, and match Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles.
But Federer, who was also beaten in the quarter-finals in 2010, insisted he is not a spent force and can capture another major title.
“I think I definitely can, yes. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t the case,” he said.
“I’m healthy. Even though I took a tough loss today, I don’t feel discouraged in any way.
“I’ll work harder than ever and hopefully come back extremely strong for Davis Cup next week and then the American summer again.”
Before Wednesday, Federer had boasted a 178-0 Grand Slam win-loss record when winning the first two sets.
His only defeats from two sets to love up had come against Lleyton Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup final and in the 2005 Master in Shanghai against David Nalbandian.
Tsonga, a defeated quarter-finalist last year, said he surprised himself by his performance.
He was only broken once, in the second game of the match, and did not give Federer a single break point in any of the last three sets.
“It was amazing. I played unbelievable. It’s never easy to come back against Roger. I’m so happy, it’s crazy,” said Tsonga, whose best Grand Slam performance was runners-up spot at the 2008 Australian Open.
“He [Federer] is the biggest champion in the sport. He has achieved so much and is the best player in the world. To be two sets down and come back was unbelievable. I served really well,” Tsonga said.
Meanwhile, second seed Djokovic clinched a gritty 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic.
Australian Open champion Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon with questions over his frame of mind as he prepared for his first tournament since his remarkable 43-match winning run was brought to an end by Federer at the French Open.
But the 24-year-old, who lost in the semi-finals in 2007 and 2010, had too much experience for 18-year-old Tomic, the world number 158, who was the youngest quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986.
“In some periods of the match I was not feeling great, meaning I wasn’t moving well,” he said. “I was expending a lot of energy on those rallies but I’m okay.
“I need to work a little bit on my game. I hope I can perform a little bit better than I did today.”
British fourth seed Andy Murray reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the third year in a row with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Murray served three successive aces to seal victory on his first match point and he will next play top seed Rafa Nadal who beat American Mardy Fish 6-3 6-3 5-7 6-4.