Djokovic sends Tsonga packing in Rome
Novak Djokovic marched into the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a commanding win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Rome.
The top seed let an early lead slip from his grasp, but he won six successive games to snatch the opening set before tightening his grip on the match as he claimed a 7-5 6-1 victory at the Foro Italico.
Djokovic survived a scare on Thursday as he battled from a set and a break down to beat Juan Monaco, but he made no such mistake against Tsonga as he raced to a 3-0 lead. Tsonga got the break back to trail 3-2, only for Djokovic to pull away again once more, but the Frenchman stubbornly refused to give in as he levelled proceedings at 4-4.
Having saved a break point to lead 6-5, Djokovic raced to 0-40, but Tsonga saved all three set points with two aces and a scintillating backhand smash at the net. But his hard work was immediately undone as Djokovic grabbed a fourth set point, and Tsonga handed the Serb the opener with his first double fault of the match.
That appeared to dent Tsonga's resolve, and he was helpless to prevent the world No. 1 blazing to a 5-0 advantage in the second set. The fifth seed stopped the rot to hold serve, but it merely delayed the inevitable as Djokovic took another step towards the defence of his title.
Standing between Djokovic and a place in Sunday's final is Madrid Open champion Roger Federer, who needed less than an hour to race past Andreas Seppi.