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Roger Federer Will Survive Tough Match Against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Quarters

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21:  Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a backhand in his fourth round match against Milos Raonic of Canada during day eight of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

Do you really think Roger Federer is going to lose to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in an Australian Open quarterfinal? 

Because I don't. On history alone, I'm willing to bet Federer will win this match, though it certainly won't be interesting.

How do I know? Pick a factoid, any factoid.

It could be because Federer has advanced to the semifinals nine straight times at the Australian Open.

Maybe it's because he has an 8-3 record against Tsonga, and a 7-2 record against him on hard courts. Oh, and he's won the last four meetings between the two.

Perhaps the fact that Federer has yet to lose a set at this year's tournament has something to do with it.

Or maybe I'm just a biased tennis fan that is dying to see a semifinal between Federer and Andy Murray after the two played some truly memorable matches in 2012, including Federer's victory over Murray at the Wimbledon final and Murray's revenge in the gold-medal match a few weeks later on the same court.

I'm willing to admit that last fact might be influencing my analysis of this matchup slightly. But only slightly.

But honestly, it's hard to see Federer losing on this stage, especially considering that Tsonga has yet to prove he can take the next step and join the Elite Four in the game: Federer, Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

Until Tsonga takes the next step and regularly reaches the semifinals or finals, he's always going to be considered in the second tier of talented players, and won't be picked by many pundits to beat players like Federer.

He has the ability, that much is clear, but he is now 27 and the breakthrough hasn't come. In an era marked by four amazing players, that means Tsonga is largely overlooked. 

Don't expect that to change in Australia. Federer's finest days may be behind him, but at 31, he is still as good as they come in the game. 

 

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