There’s no way that Roger Federer is going to advance to the semifinals at Roland Garros for the second straight year.
My hat is off to Simon, who nearly eliminated Federer, but came up just short. Federer took the opening set of the match, but lost the next two, putting him in a position that he hadn’t been in throughout this year’s tournament. But Federer escaped by winning the next two sets.
One of Federer’s biggest problems was overcoming what could’ve been a serious injury to his foot. Federer fell to the ground while chasing a shot in the second set, which started a big run for his opponent. Federer was able to play through the pain and avoid the upset.
An injury was the last thing that Federer needed. While Federer, the No. 2 seed at Roland Garros, was thought to have an easy path to the final, that now seems like a stretch, especially if his foot bothers him the next time he takes the court. Being that the French Open is played on clay won’t help his case either.
Federer entered the French Open with a 5-2 record on clay this year and one title at Roland Garros in his career. But if his foot is going to be an issue going forward, his second title will be well out of reach. He’ll have to escape Tsonga and then another worthy opponent before taking on potentially Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the final.
Even if healthy, that’s not an easy path for Federer. With an injury it's nearly impossible. To make matters worse, Tsonga has been great thus far and comes into the quarterfinal match against Federer on fire.
Tsonga has made quick work of each of his four opponents thus far to advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight year, and for just the second time in his career at Roland Garros. Tsonga has yet to play more than three sets in each match and stopping him won’t be easy, even if it is Federer standing in his way.
Federer is 9-3 against Tsonga in his career, winning both of two matches on clay. Winning a third, and a first at the French Open against Tsonga, isn’t going to be a walk in the park to say the least.
Federer may have survived the fourth-round scare against Simon, but Tsonga will be the one advancing to the semifinals once the two square off in the quarterfinals. It will end up being the worst finish for Federer since 2010, when he lost in the quarters to Robin Soderling, who went to lose to Rafael Nadal in the final.
The fourth-round victory for Federer will be his last at Roland Garros in 2013.