The 10th day of the 2013 French Open featured its share of drama in the quarterfinals, headlined by a dominant performance by national star and sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who dominated No. 2 seed Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.
David Ferrer beat out Spanish compatriot Tommy Robredo in straight sets, while Italy's Sara Errani fought past Agnieszka Radwanska despite being a slightly lower seed.
Let's take a closer look at how the action unfolded in Paris on Tuesday as the picture for the year's second Grand Slam event becomes clearer.
Note: Statistics and results are courtesy of RolandGarros.com.
Day 10 Singles Results
David Ferrer (4) defeats Tommy Robredo (32)
|6-2, 6-1, 6-1|
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6) defeats Roger Federer (2)
|7-5, 6-3, 6-3|
Serena Williams (1) defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova
|6-1, 3-6, 6-3|
Sara Errani (5) defeats Agnieszka Radwanska (4)
|6-4, 7-6 (6)|
This time around in the quarterfinals, the Frenchman made sure he didn't miss out on the golden opportunity.
Tsonga was simply dominant against Federer, despite Federer's historic advantage in the matchup. In jumping out to a two-set advantage, that alone was a landmark achievement against the living legend, as Roland Garros pointed out:
The 17-time Grand Slam champion was broken to start the third, but won the next game to test the resolve of his typically volatile counterpart.
Although there have been few doubts about Tsonga's physical gifts, he had never quite been able to kick it into an extra gear against the likes of Federer and other elite players on a consistent basis.
Serving was indeed a strong point for Tsonga, who put 75 percent of his first serves in play, and that power even on the slower clay surface put a slightly off Federer at a constant disadvantage.
Such certainly wasn't the case on this occasion, and Federer admitted afterwards that Tsonga was simply the better man in every phase in this encounter (h/t Roland Garros on Twitter):
As it turns out, Tsonga is on the proper side of the draw in his bid for a first appearance in the French Open final. He will do battle with David Ferrer in the semis.
Williams Tested, Cruises in Final Set
So it may have been true that Svetlana Kuznetsova was unseeded in this event, but Serena Williams knew she was encountering a different kind of opponent at this stage.
Kuznetsova won the 2009 French Open and has another Grand Slam title as part of her career accolades, and Williams alluded to what made Kuznetsova such a formidable foe in this quarterfinal showdown, per Roland Garros:
It took three sets, but in the two that Williams won, she encountered relatively little resistance, capped off by a 6-3 triumph, which got Williams to her first semifinals in Paris since 2003.
Entering that last set, past failures were in the back of Williams' mind (h/t Roland Garros), as her weakest Grand Slam event is definitely this one:
The second set was a case of nearly flawless tennis from Kuznetsova. The 27-year-old veteran capitalized on all three break chances and returned extremely well despite Williams hitting 17 of her 24 first serves in.
However, a silver lining and sign of things to come emerged when Williams tried to battle back from down 5-1. While she wound up losing the set, 6-3, it set the tone for the finale, where Williams won more than half of her returning points against Kuznetsova's powerful serve.
Ferrer Rolls Past Exhausted Fellow Countryman
The massive gap in seeding proved to be a reflection of talent for Ferrer and his upstart counterpart, Tommy Robredo. Ferrer has top-notch physical fitness and the ability to wear opponents down despite lackluster power, and that's exactly what he did to his opponent in this one.
Relying on precision rather than power with his serve, Ferrer won 86 percent of his first-serve points and 67 percent of his second serves, while capitalizing on 7-of-12 break-point chances.
Ferrer dropped only four games and Robredo hit just nine winners throughout the entire match while committing 28 unforced errors.
It was a disappointing way for Robredo to end his impressive tournament run in not playing his best tennis—especially after three straight five-set wins after rallying from two sets down. The last of those was in an upset over No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro.
Robredo admitted in the aftermath, per Roland Garros, that the physical toll of those previous efforts had drained him, and it didn't help that he was playing against such a fit opponent in Ferrer:
However, Ferrer should receive the bulk of the credit for his overall play in this tournament, since he has yet to even drop a set at Roland Garros thus far.
Bryan Armen Graham of Sports Illustrated highlights the significance of Ferrer's impending semifinal matchup with Tsonga:
The winner has a good chance to face either defending champion Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the final, which only heightens the drama on the men's side.
Errani Overcomes History to Beat Radwanska
Seven is a lucky number for some, but not for Agnieszka Radwanska. It was her seventh Grand Slam quarterfinal, but her advance at last year's Wimbledon was the only time she had won.
Radwanska had beaten Sara Errani six of seven previous times, according to Kate Battersby of RolandGarros.com. However, Radwanska was ever so slightly outplayed on Tuesday by last year's runner-up.
The two combined to break each other's serve 11 times and won less than 25 percent apiece of their second-serve points.
Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times observed how significant this win was for Errani, since she had never beaten such a highly ranked opponent:
It was an outstanding display of resilience from Errani, who saved five break points in the opening set to win, 6-4, before continually battling through extensive rallies against the extremely nimble Radwanska to emerge victorious.
The aggressor was definitely Radwanska, as she approached the net 23 times in the second set alone, winning 14 of those points.
Unfortunately, those missed shots Radwanska had to break in the first set came back to haunt her in an incredibly evenly played showdown. Now, Errani will have to get past Serena Williams if making her second straight final is meant to be.