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Federer books Tsonga clash

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MELBOURNE - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says he must leave his reverence for Roger Federer in the locker room to have any hope of stopping the Swiss juggernaut in tonight's Australian Open quarter-final at Rod Laver Arena.

Federer was the only man to make the last eight without dropping serve and hailed his supreme fourth-round showing against Milos Raonic as one of the best performances of his career.

The four-times champion has accounted for Tsonga in eight of their 11 previous meetings, including a straight-sets drubbing in the Open quarter-finals three years ago, and the Frenchman knows he is a big underdog once more.

"I've got a lot of respect for him. He's just an incredible tennis player, an example for many people," Tsonga said.

"I have respect for him outside of the court and, on the court, I have to — how you say — unrespect him?

"Because if you respect him too much, then for sure you lose.

"We have a good relationship in the locker room, but it's different on the court. On the court, I will try to beat him and I'm sure it's going to be the same thing for him."

Federer surely hasn't forgotten his loss from two sets up against Tsonga in the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals and Tsonga knows he must be on his game from the get-go.

"I lost many times against this guy," said the 2008 Open runner-up.

"So, of course, playing against him, it's going to be a big challenge for me.

"You need a plan because, if you just play like this with him, you will lose for sure."

Tsonga and his new Australian coach Roger Rasheed, Lleyton Hewitt's long-time former mentor, have been working on "everything" to improve the Frenchman's big game.





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