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Tsonga unable to halt Spanish charge

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Originally published on: 16/04/10 12:53

For a while, it looked as if Juan Carlos Ferrero was set to coast through his third round match with Jo Wilfried Tsonga towards a showdown with compatriot Rafael Nadal.

In the end, the Frenchman’s response to a 6-1 drubbing in the first set turned it into the match of the tournament so far, but ot quite enough to stop the two-time champ from booking his spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-1 3-6 7-5 win.

Tsonga, who rarely looks comfortable on the back foot, turned the match around by stamping his authority early in the second set, clinching the single break of serve that leveled the scores.

And the Frenchman continued with his agressive style in the third, making for some of the most exhilirating action of the tournament so far as both men refused to give an inch from the baseline. Ferrero broke for a 2-1 lead but immediately saw the advantage wiped out.

With the match through the two-hour mark, Ferrero held match points at 5-4 on Tsonga’s serve. The Frenchman, bouyed by an animated crowd cheering as much for the tennis as their man, survived, but only briefly. Serving to stay in the match once more at 5-6, he succumbed to the pressure and Ferrero sealed the win.

Ferrero faces Rafael Nadal in the last eight after the defending champion dropped just 18 points during his demolition of Michael Berrer 6-0 6-1. The Spaniard, chasing a record sixth Monte Carlo crown, has dropped just two games in hs first two matches and came within one game of the first double bagel victory of his career before the German got himself on the scoreboard.

It was another strong outing for the Davis Cup champion nation as Fernando Verdasco, David Ferrer and Albert Montanes also reached the quarter-finals. It is the first time five Spaniards have reached the last eight in Monte Carlo in the event’s history, though with Nadal facing Ferrero and Verdasco pitted against Montanes, there will be a maximum of three in the semis.

Philipp Kohlschreiber, will play David Ferrer, while top seed Novak Djokovic and David Nalbandian will face off for the final semi-final spot.

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