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Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

1023: I'm off, but before I go, some parish notices. The women's final begins at 0830 GMT tomorrow. That will be live on the Red Button/Online/5 live Sports Extra. The men's final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer is at 0830 GMT on Sunday. That will be live on BBC Two/Online/5 live. I'd be surprised if you could contain your excitement. I know I can't. Bring it on...

1020: A very relaxed Fed, who could be the new Henri Leconte in a few years if he keeps this up, cracked a whole host of gags in that on-court interview. Asked by Jim Courier what kind of work he has to do during the off-season to stay in shape, he responds: "Nothing. It's all talent. I don't work. I just sit on the couch. I really just take care of the kids. That's all." Ever the diplomat, he does hastily add: "No I do work hard in the off-season, just to make that clear."

1017: Ah Fed, how you mock us. 150,000 years! Pah! When was the last time Switzerland won, erm, Olympic curling gold eh? Answer me that, Rog.

Federer on facing Andy Murray: "I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis in... what is it? Like 150,000 years? The poor guy has to go through those moments over and over again. He's done tremendously. We match up well. I'm looking forward to final."

Federer on Tsonga's performance: "I thought he did really well in those five set matches and I expected him to come out here and be really athletic the way we know him. Maybe he was mentally more fatigued than physically."

Roger Federer: "Yes, I'm very happy. You've always got to deal with how your opponent plays. Sometimes he plays like you want, sometimes not. It's nice going through like this but I already know the next match won't be this way."

Federer 6-2 6-3 6-2 Tsonga
In Montreal last year, Tsonga came back from 5-1 down in the deciding set to beat Federer. Not a chance of a similar recovery this time. His return clips the net and bounces in the trams to give Fed two match points. The Frenchman finally shows some spirit on the first, leaping to put away the backhand smash, but Fed simply crunches a forehand into the corner to draw the error. Fed unstoppable today...

From Gordy, Aberdeen, via text: "I hope this is Federer peaking two days too early."

Federer *6-2 6-3 5-2 Tsonga
Federer flashes a forehand onto the very edge of the sideline to peg Tsonga back to 40-30. The Frenchman is hardly moving now, but he pounds a winner to take the game. Not sure how much Murray will learn from this match. Federer hasn't really been tested since he broke in the first set.

Federer 6-2 6-3 5-1* Tsonga
Tsonga thinks about letting the racquet have it after another error, but he can't summon the inspiration even for a good tantrum. It's not a love service game, but it is a comfortable hold and Federer is one game away from a fourth Australian Open final.

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From Ali in Birmingham, via text: "Federer looks imperious - completely untroubled. It's like Tsonga has accepted he was merely a lamb to the slaughter! If Murray is watching this he may have a restless couple of nights!"

Federer *6-2 6-3 4-1 Tsonga
A huge roar from the crowd as Tsonga anticipates a pass and puts away the volley. It's only one point though and he's still 15-30 down. Fed thrashes a forehand return which Tsonga does well to get back, but Fed simply wallops another forehand into the space. Stone the crows. Fed's put a lob wide. Poor. That's one break point gone, but Tsonga's lame double-fault gives Fed the double break. This one's over.

Federer 6-2 6-3 3-1* Tsonga
Exhibition time, Fed thwacking forehand winners this way and that. The last one looks out, but Tsonga can't even be bothered to challenge. It's another love service game. We haven't even been going for an hour and a half.

Federer *6-2 6-3 2-1 Tsonga
This doesn't look good: a double fault from Tsonga and then a poor approach, which Fed rifles crosscourt. Tsonga's serve gets him back to 30-30, but then Fed leaps up and produces an awesome backhand smash. He's got a break point already, but Tsonga finds a big serve. Fed then pounces on a second serve and charges the net, Tsonga putting the pass wide. Another break point and Tsonga nets. This is quite a contrast to Tsonga's last appearance in an Australian Open semi-final when he thrashed Rafa Nadal.

Federer 6-2 6-3 1-1* Tsonga
Tsonga hasn't had a break point yet - and I've lost count of the amount of love service games Fed has racked up now. The crowd are urging Jo-Willy to find something, anything...

Federer *6-2 6-3 0-1 Tsonga
Tsonga has never recovered from two sets down before. Indeed, before this tournament, he had never played a five-set match. At least he's managed to hold serve quite comfortably there. His first-serve percentage is currently 53.

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From Denia, Bristol, via text: "Re Joss, Oxford: I recommend the late David Foster Wallace piece from NYTimes called 'Roger Federer as religious experience'. It ties in nicely with your point."
It does indeed. I recommend everyone reads that, in fact

Federer 6-2 6-3 0-0* Tsonga
Another strangely flat game from Tsonga, who ends it by dumping a volley into the net. I'm starting to feel a bit sorry for the Rod Laver Arena ticket-holders now. They don't even have the prospect of watching Henri Leconte run through his box of tricks after this. Actually, that could be a relief.

Federer *6-2 5-3 Tsonga
Jo-Willy is staring at a second double-fault in a row, but he goes to HawkEye, who comes to his rescue and the Frenchman at least makes Fed serve for it.

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From Tome in Lagos pretending to be bored at work, via text: "Murray's extra day of rest will count for nothing if Federer blows Tsonga away in three sets. So please Willy Jo could you win a set or two?"

Federer 6-2 5-2* Tsonga
If I was in Rod Laver Arena, I would be giving Fed the whistles right now as he frames a drive volley almost into the crowd. Speaking from a rubbish tennis player's point of view, that's always a pleasure to see. It's only a temporary blip though and a gorgeous forehand down the line takes him to game point before closing out.

Federer *6-2 4-2 Tsonga
Fed's drop shot has JW totally off-balance and the top seed is 0-30 up, but Tsonga gets back to 30-30 with a stunning volley off the back of a big serve. It's not enough to inspire him though. Fed's big return has the Frenchman struggling and the world number one is there to cut off the volley for a break point. He takes it when Tsonga nets a backhand.

Text in your views on 81111
From Joss, Oxford, via text: "Currently writing an essay on 'a cultural approach to religion.' Apparently golf and tennis can be accurately considered as 'religions.' Excellent news, I've always considered myself a devout kind of guy."

Federer 6-2 3-2* Tsonga
Another hold to love and Federer is yet to drop a point on serve in this set. Tsonga looks so flat. Did he ever believe he could win this one?

Federer *6-2 2-2 Tsonga
"Bah non," Tsonga probably mutters as he lets Fed back in at 30-30 with a careless forehand. Big serve gets him to game point, and he looks in trouble when his drop volley sits up for Fed to hit, but the world number one is a bit too cool for school there, and Tsonga anticipates the response to put the volley into the open court.

Federer 6-2 2-1* Tsonga
Tsonga's return onto the baseline looks to have ruined Fed's love service game, but the world number one fires a withering look at the umpire before asking for HawkEye. He's right. It's out.

Federer *6-2 1-1 Tsonga
Tsonga needs inspiration from somewhere. He could consider running down a drop shot, stretching for a miraculous volley, chasing back for a lob before sending a glorious forehand down the line. You know, like Andy Murray. Still, he's come through that game already, despite starting it with a double fault.

Federer 6-2 1-0* Tsonga
Well, this is all very easy for Federer, the world number one holding to 15. He considers a challenge on the point he loses, but, you know, he doesn't really need to. There seem to be a lot of people reading this at school/university when they should be concentrating on learning. I feel I should impart some wisdom...

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From Tobi in Nigeria pretending to be working, via text: "Rooting for Fed all the way. I think he will do this in three straight sets and probably beat Murray in four."

Federer *6-2 0-0 Tsonga
Hmmm... Double-fault from Tsonga and Fed has three set points. He forces the error on the first, but after a ding-dong baseline rally in which Fed looks like he will never miss, Tsonga sprays a wild backhand into the trams. The world number one is in ominously good form.

Text in your views on 81111
From Alex, bored in physics, via text: "Just got caught reading this on my iPod. However, my teacher has said I can avoid detention if I give him updates every game."

Federer 5-2* Tsonga
Federer seals the game in brilliant fashion, running around his backhand and finding a devillish angle on the forehand. A bamboozled Tsonga didn't even move for it.

Federer *4-2 Tsonga
Mis-hit return from Fed, and it's a beauty, drawing Tsonga in before the Swiss sends a majestic lob over his head. But that's an otherwise excellent service game from Tsonga, the Frenchman's volleying looking very sharp early on.

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From Laura, not working in Baghdad, via text: "Nice use of picometre there Cheese!"
I learnt yesterday's lesson well...

Federer 4-1* Tsonga
Wow. Magnificent topspin forehand down the line from Federer takes him to 30-15 but Tsonga takes control of the next point with a couple of brutal forehands before burying the smash. Couple of deuces in the game, but Fed eventually consolidates the break.

From Kenchenko on Twitter: "Rooting for Tsonga, betting on Federer."

Federer *3-1 Tsonga
Fed swats a forehand return into the corner before sticking the drive volley down the line to earn two break points. Return into the net and now a crunching ace down the middle from Tsonga. The Frenchman's forehand misses the line by a picometre though and he faces another break point. His drop volley isn't quite good enough and Fed is there to flick the pass crosscourt.

Text in your views on 81111
From Mike, Surrey, via text: "Re 0826: Although delighted that Robson is through to her third junior slam final, I have to say I'm also a little peeved. Seeing identical twins against each other would have been hilarious - they could have dressed the same and the umpire would have had a hell of a time scoring the match! Anyway, come on Laura!"

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From Denia, Bristol, via text: "I am an ardent Federer fan. And at the risk of getting ahead of myself, I think he'll face Murray on Sunday, but I just feel like this is Andy's Slam. He'll definitely be the hungrier one come Sunday. GO ROG!"

Federer 2-1* Tsonga
Fed's serve clicking into gear nicely there, hitting back with a love service game of his own.

Federer *1-1 Tsonga
Tsonga, looking very relaxed in his second Australian Open semi-final, opens with a love service game.

From Nightmair on Twitter: "Waiting for the next semi, hoping it's 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-7 20-22 to Federer, so he's knackered when he plays Murray."

Federer 1-0* Tsonga
Couple of errors in the game but Fed holds to 30. These two have played twice before. Fed won their first meeting in 2008. Tsonga won in Montreal last year, despite losing the second set 6-1.
* denotes next to serve

0840: And they're off. Fed to serve first.

It's good news for a Briton
0837: And a hat-trick of British finalists in Melbourne: Peter 'The Quadfather' Norfolk is through to the Quad Wheelchair singles final after a 6-1 6-2 win over Sweden's Johan Andersson. He'll face American David Wagner in the final on Saturday.

0830: Right, I missed the pre-match interviews, but I'm going to guess that they both think this is a tough match, but they're looking forward to it. Here they are then: Federer getting a marginally louder cheer, I reckon.

It's good news for a Briton
0826: British cheer overnight as Laura Robson crushed Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 6-1 to reach the junior final. The 16-year-old should have no trouble in Saturday's final either. She's up against Pliskova's identical twin sister Karolina, the sixth seed. Easy.

0821: Just had a quick flick through the papers. "Andy Is Scream Of Crop" roars the Star. "Jawsome" puns the Daily Record. "I Want To Slam Fed In Final" claims the Mirror. "Bring On Federer" trumpets the Express. I can't help thinking a couple of those headlines are going to look a touch out of date in a few hours' time if Jo-Willy can bring down the mighty Fedster.

0815: Hello there. In about 15 minutes' time, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face off for the right to be roundly thrashed by Great Britain's Andy Murray in Sunday's Australian Open final.

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see also
Australian Open day 12 photos
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Federer win sets up Murray final
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Venus & Serena keep Aussie title
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Murray powers into Aussie final
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Federer piles pressure on Murray
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Serena seals fifth Aussie title
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Order of play
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Women's singles latest
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Men's doubles latest
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Men's singles draw
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Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
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