David Ferrer made quick work of France's best hope for a men's French Open champion in 30 years defeating Jo Wilfried Tsonga 6 1 7 6 (7 3) 6 2 in the semifinals at Roland Garros. Ferrer will be one half of an all Spanish French Open final after Rafael Nadal won an epic five setter over Novak Djokovic earlier Friday.
The fourth seeded Ferrer 31 has never been to a Grand Slam final despite being ranked in the Top 5 in the world for what seems like the past half decade. It hasn't helped that his best surface is clay and he's in the Nadal Era but it was plain to see why he's made Slam semifinals six times including the French Open twice. He's short but he moved gracefully over the clay particularly in contrast to the at times lumbering Tsonga.
Tsonga had just made quick work of Roger Federer in straight sets and if he hadn't gotten down by such a huge margin to start the match it may have gone differently. By the time he was down 4 0 in the first set his shoulders were slumped and he didn't appear to be playing with a sense of urgency. He managed to win his last service game but that first set appeared to destroy his confidence which has always been an issue for the 28 year old.
In the second set Tsonga broke Ferrer's serve early and built a 3 0 lead but Ferrer stormed back never losing composure or aggressiveness. He broke Tsonga back and made it to a tiebreaker where he looked like a different class of player.
After the tiebreaker it was hard to imagine Tsonga coming back without a complete change in demeanor. The French crowd was clearly behind him but other than a few bright moments he couldn't turn the support into tangible results. Ferrer broke him early in the third set and by the time Tsonga was serving at 2 5 it was already over. Tsonga went up 40 15 but Ferrer won four straight points and took the match.
Ferrer has played more than 750 career professional matches and this is his first final. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he would have probably won a Slam but this is the golden age of tennis and no one makes a Grand Slam final without a heaping helping of luck which Ferrer got in not having to face Federer Djokovic Murray or Nadal before the final and even more skill.