ATP Masters 1000Monte-Carlo MastersRoger Federer

Tsonga Ends Federer’s Monte Carlo Run with 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 Victory

Roger Federer's return to competition was thwarted by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who defeated the Swiss 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Quarter Finals. In what was Roger's first tournament play since Melbourne he made a flying start; breaking Tsonga 3 times in the opening set to take it 6-2. But the four time Monte Carl finalist couldn't maintain his early pace, losing his serve 3 times to drop the second set 6-2; then crucially at 5-5 in the decider which allowed Tsonga to serve his way into the semi finals where he will face fellow countryman Gael Monfils.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Tsonga Monte Carlo Quarters 2016

Roger Federer won the toss and elected to receive. During the toss he complained to Bernardes about whether the court would be watered or not. Tsonga kicked things off with a hold to 30; Roger then held to 15 to level.

Game 2 saw Roger fashion his first break points thanks to some awesome shotmaking and he converted on the second to lead 2-1. Tsonga managed to hit straight back, helped by a double fault at 0-15. The Frenchman then held to love for a 3-2 lead. Roger held to love himself and broke Tsonga's serve for the second time in the set. This time around the Swiss consolidated for 5-3, saving a break point in the process. He then went on to break Tsonga's serve again to wrap the set up 6-3.

Serving first in set 2 looked like it would be an advantage for Roger but he dropped serve immediately; digging in to make deuce from 0-40 only to falter on the fourth break point as Tsonga broke to lead 1-0. Tsonga consolidated and soon found himself up a double break for 4-1. Roger recouped one of them for 4-2 but he dropped serve again at 2-5 and Tsonga forced a decider.

Set 3 saw the Swiss again serving first and he held to lead 1-0. Game 2 was a marathon 5 deuce game but Roger couldn't fashion a single break point as Tsonga held. From that point on there was little in the way of chances as both players looked comfortable on serve up till 4-4. Game 9 saw Roger hold to love and he had a slight inroad on the Tsonga serve at 15-30 but nothing materialised. With things finely poised at 5-5 Fed lost only the 2nd point behind his first serve of the set for 0-15 and went on to drop serve. Tsonga was now in the driving site and despite slipping to 0-30 he won 4 straight points to hold serve and move into the Semi Finals with a 3-6 6-2 7-5 victory.

Match Stats

R. Federer J. Tsonga
Aces 1 8
Double Faults 4 4
1st Serve % 58% 56%
1st Serve Points Won 33/49 (67%) 44/60 (73%)
2nd Serve Points Won 18/35 (51%) 20/47 (43%)
Break Points Saved 7/12 (58%) 3/7 (43%)
Service Games Played 14 15
1st Return Points Won 16/60 (27%) 16/49 (33%)
2nd Return Points Won 27/47 (57%) 17/35 (49%)
Break Points Won 4/7 (57%) 5/12 (42%)
Return Games Played 15 14
Winners 22 33
Unforced Errors 34 41
Net Points Won 17/27 7/14
Total Service Points Won 51/84 (61%) 64/107 (60%)
Total Return Points Won 43/107 (40%) 33/84 (39%)
Total Points Won 94/191 (49%) 97/191 (51%)
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Tsonga Monte Carlo 2016

A typical topsy turvy match against Tsonga this one with both players playing well one minute, error strewn the next. Roger started the match in great shape, playing smart tennis he was able to play a large chunk of points on his terms and force Tsonga into making too many unforced errors especially of the backhand wing.

After winning the first set I thought Fed was going to come through in straights but he handed over serve tamely at the start of set 2. That allowed Tsonga to get on a roll and he won it at a canter breaking serve 3 times.

The decider was always going to be a bit of a lottery but with Fed serving first it looked like he might find a way over the line. As the set wore on though you could tell it was going to be a struggle to get it done as he made no inroads on the return. He managed to serve pretty well to keep it close but he was late to the party on way too many forehands. That finally caught up with him and once Tsonga managed to string together a couple of decent shots he was broken at 5-5. Bit disappointing to not capitalise on love 30 missing that easy volley at 30-30 5-6 but hey ho.

Anyway I think it's been a decent week. Of course the usual mob are out in force saying he has blown a golden opportunity to win his first Monte Carlo title ๐Ÿ˜† but 34 years old, 12 weeks out, comes back, wins 2 matches, nearly makes it 3 and leaves the tournament knowing a lot more about his game and his knee / body than before it. I don't think there can be too many complaints.

Let me know what you thought of the match in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. I’m of course disappointed that he lost. Mainly because he was looking very good for the win. But it would be delusional to expect him to beat Nadal at Monte Carlo, and I’m fairly certain Nadal is who would be waiting, so I don’t buy the argument from a lot about this being a missed chance. It’s just annoying because it cuts out a bit of match practice.

    But hey ho, this probably means fed will play Madrid and Rome both. Silver lining.

    Match itself I agree with you, Jon. In all honesty, fed was looking a bit slow to the net. Well, not sure about that, maybe a bit hesitant on the volley. He was quite often missing them long today, and I feel the pressure of making them good on clay ended up being the big difference. Aside from that, credit to Tsonga for playing a good match and pulling out a tight finish (I think we all like him on here)

  2. Kinda hard not to be disappointed ’cause Roger was playing pretty well in the first set and all of a sudden he was being broken and not able to dictate anymore in the second set. Maybe he was a bit tired idk.
    A good week nonetheless. Now he needs to rest a little bit and figure out what tournaments to play. Hopefully he will be in both Madrid and Rome, but Roger knows best, we’ll have to wait and see.


  3. Yeah, he didn’t commit murder. People have been very, very hard on him after this loss. We are all disappointed but there’s always the next tourney. I think only after 3-4 tournaments will we be able to judge how he is progressing. Still, I admit to being depressed and anxious when I heard the news. At least now I can go out Sunday and not be chained, a nervous wreck, to the TV. That said, I want a Frenchman to hold the trophy…

  4. Thanks for Report..Agree that its decent result considering that his comeback tournament and unlikely he could win whole thing even if he reached final….. same time tiny disappointed that he got broken on that 5-5 after playing decent in third set…I think Roger won more Return points in third set until then, in that sense he could have made into SF…..

    1. Nambi, I’m VERY disappointed about that game at 5-5. If you are gonna go out, go out on your sword in the tiebreak. I can understand a letdown in one set after a flying first, but did you see those points he played on serve at 5-5? They were brutal to watch. Easily advantageous positions and won balls donated. Even at 5-6, at 30-30, he had a basic volley put away that was muffed. His forehand and net game vanished at the end of the set. I would’ve rather he’d gotten smoked 2 and 2 than witness this kind of endgame meltdown.

      Perhaps there will be some silver lining with a decent run at Rome, his clay bete noire. I just think that Monte Carlo, given all his finals there, and given the glamour of the event, is really one for Fed to win. I guess it’s no more important than Miami or Shanghai, but still. Win it already! =)

      1. Yeah, I wanted to see him at least force a good tie-break (although it would have been disappointing if there had been a collapse there, too). There was much to enjoy in his playing this week but the old Achilles heel showed up again yesterday. It’s really disappointing to see him disintegrate in tight matches, and it has rather become his way nowadays.

      2. Well I understand he played a brilliant 1. set, and this I can enjoy at TT replay then. What happened after this, is of course disappointing, and I think the most disappointed is Roger. Why it happened, is not easy to interpret although some try to add negative thinking about his ability – I admire Roger for finding the positive challenges instead. Keep up the spirit!

    2. I think this is far and away from a disintegration. Looks like people are forgetting it’s his first tournament back post knee surgery.

      Already hit the ground running with 2 wins but it takes time to get back into it fully. I mean look at Thiem – he did military service, came back and wasn’t at the races for weeks. Fed is coming back from an injury, 34 yrs old and people are expecting clay titles at events he has never won ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. Despite we all pretty much said we shouldn’t expect too much from our Feds after such a long break, nevertheless, we can’t help wanting him to win of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ But there’s no shame losing to JoW IMO who played well in sets 2/3. I like Jo and I hope he gets to the final. Rather Feds lost to JoW than the clown. All in all, he’s got a few matches under his belt and I understand he’s playing Madrid so that’s a bonus ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Agreed.

      Re Madrid – he said he will make a decision nearer the time. So not confirmed yet.

      If I was to guess I would say play Madrid, skip Rome unless he bombs early in Madrid.

  6. I was at the theatre this afternoon, so missed all this. I tuned in to the scores beforehand to find he’d taken the first set quite easily, seemingly, and started thinking “This seems to be going better than I’d thought”, until I realised he’d dropped serve at the beginning of set 2. It’s disappointing, because the way the draw was going I did think he stood a good chance – provided he got past Tsonga. But then, I have to remember that he’s only just back from a serious break, and I was only expecting him to make it through a couple of rounds, and try not to be too disappointed.

    I’d quite like one of the French to win it – after all, it is nearly a “home” tournament. I haven’t been paying that much attention to Monfils this year, but have got the impression that he’s got the flakiness a lot more under control. We shall see, I guess. BTW, I was forgetting that Andy didn’t play here last year because he was busy getting married, so he’s only making up points – at last.

    1. Monfils is definitely more focused now he has a coach. He’s never played Tsonga on clay but I think I’d edge with Jo to win, it’s been his best surface in terms of wins lately.

    2. And Clownga shows up. What a poor show, way too many errors. Looks like Nadal has this one sewn up, Monf 5-18 in finals. I think Nadal is just going to make him play one more ball and he’s going to miss.

    1. True. But Djokovic got beaten by a player who played well above himself. And Djokovic has to lose sometimes – even if it’s only about once a year – in case people might think he’s been doping. But Roger routinely flatters to deceive – he takes us tantalisingly to the finish line, where it appears he’s gonna cross it first and then, like the gentleman he is, he allows the other guy through to take the tape. The winning instinct isn’t quite what is was. But you can often say the same about Nadal these days. It will be interesting to see what happens if he comes under the gun this clay season. It will happen.

    2. Nadal needs to avoid big hitters if he’s going to do well on clay. Thiem would have won if he moved forward. Any time these guys get on top but hang back Nadal is going to make one more ball and give his opponent one more chance to miss.

  7. No matter what I tell myself, it’s always a disappointment when Fed suffers a loss. Strange match really. The matches this week emphasize how match-ups make a difference in the outcome.
    The older one gets the easier it is to lose focus and confidence. Roger looked disappointed in himself in the 3rd.
    Oh well, on wards and up wards.

    Hey, what was Raonic doing? He should have retired, couldn’t even move. Common sense out the window.

    1. I appreciate Raonic for sticking out there. However shit the spectacle was, the crowd got to see it, which is better than if he retired.

      1. And better play than not, also for experience for him – whatever his condition was, if at all possible, and not damaging

  8. I didn;t see the match but I’d have thought maybe the lack of matches caught up with him? Maybe the legs got heavy? To be expected really.

  9. A Dutch news site implies something’s still wrong with his knee. He’d said that he even might take a break till Roland Garros. Has anyone heard something similar?

  10. I am rewriting this cos I think some ppl are being way too judgemental!
    Tbh I think he was right to be pleased to make the QF, play 3 matches, one of which was tough and come thru with knee unscathed! Serve was off and I still think he has some way to go on knee bend and push up and overโ€ฆ I think he will play Madrid and then make a decision re Rome depending on his result there. Ppl expect too much after surgery, donโ€™t care how simple an op it isโ€ฆ Scar tissue, swelling etc as well as the mental side. Took Muzz a long time! Be patient Rog will get there!
    Jonathan, will put together a fan report over weekend! Cheers! Ps did not realise I was on TVโ€ฆ Aaaargh!!

    1. Yeah everyone is calling it a choke ๐Ÿ˜† it’s embarrassing. Not every close match is lost by not being clutch. Sure he missed that volley at 5-6 but was an uphill battle at that point.

      And thanks, email it over and will publish. You were on camera before play started when they zoomed on Mirka, but after that it was just the people sitting next to you as the camera angle they were using didn’t have you in frame.

  11. Some of you might have noticed I’ve taken down the Color 13 shirts from the blog. I’m not going to make a post on it but unfortunately I had to as customers weren’t getting the level of service required.

    In fact there are still 2 people who read this blog who ordered in January and have yet to receive their products and I am currently trying to get a refund sorted. They’re not small orders either – one is for 100 euros ๐Ÿ™ it’s really quite embarrassing. It’s important to say I don’t take any commission on sales through my blog so I’m not benefiting financially from selling them here – I did it purely as a favour to help promote what is a good product. First comment winners from 2015 are still waiting too and the order was placed by me in early January!

    I’ve been happy to help promote the products for well over a year now (generating a large amount of awareness and direct sales of the shirts), and I did so free of charge aside from the odd free t-shirt. I even recommended them to the Tennis Challenge prediction game who decided to use them as prizes (they too have run into issues with winners not receiving their prizes)

    The first few orders through my blog went perfectly with zero issues, but since the start of the year the service has dropped off and Color13 are unresponsive. The only time contact is made I’m presented with excuses. So I can’t really justify selling products through my site when customers are at worst not receiving the goods paid for and at best waiting weeks / months to get a single t-shirt order delivered.

    I have no idea what has gone wrong at their end but the customer service is now non existent and as a result I’m not going to be selling them through my blog going forwards. It’s a shame as the t-shirts are well made and well designed but none of that can justify paying money and not receiving items. As such I wouldn’t recommend ordering.

    If anyone has any questions just let me know.

  12. Not bad result after long break from injury, just a bad day at office and poor match performance by both. Tsonga is more match fit. Hope to catch him at Madrid in 2 weeks time.

  13. I think overall it’s been a decent week for Fed. Yes, any loss is disappointing but let’s not get crazy. He lost 7-5 in the third on his worst surface at a tournament he has never won to a player who has historically caused him problems, even in his prime. It is worth noting that Fed v Tsonga’s head to head since 2012 is 4-3 in favour of Tsonga. Yes he looked to be tiring at the end of the third set and I think it’s a blessing in disguise as he would have probably gone down in straights if he had to play against Monfils today. Overall I think his movement is far better than I expected it to be after the longest layoff of his career and we’ll get a better idea in the coming weeks of where his game is at as he plays, regains match sharpness and fitness.

  14. Tsonga is such crap. Plays out of his skin to beat Fed and falls back to his typical level next round against Monfils. 1-6 in the first set. Ugh.

    1. I don’t think he played out of his skin, he just put together a few decent shots and got the job done. But yeah he’s crap, might have won a slam if he had a better backhand and could construct points.

  15. A solid result for Federer after three months without a competitive match. He needed matches and he got them. He needed to play against some baseliners to get used to the long rallies and he got that. He needed to get used to playing on the healed knee and he got that. Hoping for the title was always a long shot.

    I think his problems are due not so much to physical issues as they are to simple mental rust: he doesn’t have the confidence and crisp decision-making in the heat of the moment that only come with lots of match play. Practice is for keeping his game sharp, but it doesn’t help him put all his shots and strategies together into a winning package. For that he needs competitive play. He got two straightforward matches against clay-court grinders to help him ease back into the swing of things, and then a tough, testing three-setter against a hard-hitting top player, just what he needed.

    Suspect he’ll play Madrid and Rome both, assuming his body can handle it. He got a three-month forced layoff, there’s plenty in the tank–burnout is probably the last thing he’s worrying about. He said in 2014 that Edberg was having him play for long blocks followed by long rest periods, rather than stop-and-start in shorter stretches.

    If he’s continuing with that approach, it seems pointless, even counterproductive, for him to just stop now before RG, especially since he sorely needs more matches. If he gets tired during the summer he can always skip Toronto and just play Cincy before going to NY.

  16. As always, reading this blog helps put things in perspective. Such great comments by everyone. I now feel very happy with MC and 3 matches under his belt. Hoping his knee is fine and he doesn’t overdo.

    To bad about Colour 13. I so wanted the evolution t-shirt. Why did they shoot themselves in the foot and ruin their business? Weird.

    The question is…can Clownfils pull it off tomorrow? I so detest bite marks.

    1. One never knows what to expect from french players. Simon can be the most stubborn guy to play against or he can have his mind 1000 km away from the court. Tsonga can bash back all that’s thrown at him or have all his hinges turning in the wrong angles. Monfils can make a full display of winning athleticism or bad comedy. Gasquet is the only Mr. Nice guy but he’s a helpless bunny rabbit at the hands of some. My guess is that tomorrow Nadal will take the bowl home and deservedly so. He has been struggling like a bull against himself and a herd of haters (amongst who I’m sometimes found…)

    2. @Sue – Speculating as I can’t even get answers to emails these days but I think Color13 are busy doing something for a few tennis clubs like team kits etc. Which has resulted in general customers getting binned off as they are probably deemed “not where the money is”. In which case why take the orders / money in the first place? I have no issue with someone pivoting their business model, but don’t try cream off the other one whilst paying no attention to customer service. So I have no faith in them anymore. I’m a bit annoyed as I don’t handle any of the transaction, so I have to chase up refunds from them. Other than that no idea why it’s dropped off a cliff, it all worked fine on the early orders, things ran smoothly but now it’s a complete turd.

      1. Oh c’mon Jonathan don’t hold back, you’re being far too nice to Color13 ๐Ÿ˜†

      2. Why don’t you review the “sites I like” as well. Do you really like all of them? Are they all still current and relevant?

    3. On the Clown. Not a chance I would say, not even with Nadal (although definitely more like himself) not quite there. He has never beaten Nadal on clay and has only won 2 matches (both in Doha) out of 13. Many are saying that his focus has improved which wouldn’t be hard because, generally, he has the concentration of a gnat.

      1. Is Monfils the first Frenchman to try a different coaching system and go the Swedish route? Those two put on the most boring semi in the most beautiful setting and my commies even apologised for this.
        With subdued Clownfils the only fun, exciting part is maybe the shoelaces untying….now prove me wrong and entertain us with the win over Rafa.

  17. Monfils is fighting but has no chance. Just as Fed would have had no chance against this “renewed” Nadal. And Murray had no chance. Interesting that Murray has said he is suspicious of players who never tire. I wonder who he might be referring to? Only an in-form Djokovic could beat this “over-the-hill” Spaniard. Someone should call WADA right away.

      1. He was. He only had gas for 2 sets. Monfils confirms the crown of the biggest loser in tornament finals. He’s how many now? 5 out of 1744?
        Set #3 was just paperwork.

      2. Set 3 was also a measure of the effectiveness of the rejuvenated Nadal’s doping programme. Ever wonder why he alone (or Djokovic) never tires? Murray – who was beating Nadal until the Scotsman similarly “ran out of gas – said recently, apropos doping, that he is suspicious of players “who never tire”. Just who could he be talking about?

  18. Yes and what happened to the court case against the French sport minister hope someone asks Rafa how it’s proceeding in the Presser. Anyway this final was more entertaining than last year whilst it lasted, I think the highlight of that match was Berdych showing some whiny emotion when they watered the court and it was a damp day then .
    Rafa once again the favourite for RG and Novak had his lead in masters equaled. Not sure I’m into this clay season if this is how it started!

  19. Ooof! Didn’t follow as not much interest in it. Well hoped Gael to win for once. I think I turn to doubles playing – not same need for energy drugging maybe, and often a lot more entertaining than singles – until Roger returns.

  20. Not the most ideal start to the clay season. Even at 5-5 in the first, you could see Monfils was running on fumes. His loss was a formality, not ever a question.

    I see a lot of comments on here about renewed doping from Nadal. Think whatever you like. I happen to agree with you. But was anyone truly expecting Fed to challenge on clay? For that matter, was anyone truly expecting Nadal not to? However low he fell, he’s still a good clay court player, and it just feels like validation for him when the bile immediately comes out following one win. Let’s all just calm down and see how he does over the swing before waving the “typical drugs” banner.

    1. Nadal was never gone. Or done. Tell me, why is it that Nadal’s worst year, 2015, happened to be the one in which the biological passport program was effective? Coincidence? Not a chance! It makes perfect sense, that is, if you IQ is at least three figures.

      The biological passport turned out to be a thorn in the way of Nadal’s GOAT aspirations. He was an average player in 2015, and early 2016, as he continued searching for solutions to beat the doping program. Seems to me he may have a way to work around it.

      I have no doubt in my mind that Rafael Nadal is back to effective doping. Will that be enough to win slams? We will find out soon enough. This man will do anything to his body, dope, blood spinning, stem cells, you name it. Pretty typical of Spanish thugs.

      1. Agree. He’s definitely back on it, and found a way to beat the bio passport. It’s going to be very hard to pull him back over the clay court season, and I suspect only Djokovic can stop him winning a 10th French title.

  21. Oh well, that’s that then. Nadal back to his winning ways on clay. But I think he was hugely helped by Novak’s surprise loss. I was disappointed as usual when Roger lost a match he could well have won. But then, reading through the comments here puts things in perspective, so yes, the knee, the recuperation, everything factoring in, it was not so bad for Fed after all, I guess.
    Looking at the next gen players, I quite like Thiem (better than nasty Nick, who is exciting but irritating). That one-handed backhand is lovely to watch.

      1. Djokovic in form will always beat Nadal. Equally good athlete, equally tireless, better player. He alone has the wood on the Spaniard. Unless Nadal has discovered a new programme. Which he appears to have done. He hadn’t shown form like this since 2012.

      2. I would add that Roger will not be a contender. The clay game is now about power-hitting combined with marathon running.

      3. For me, the clay game has always been about that, except hitting has become more important as racquets developed. So Roger really never stood a chance after his athleticism (read stamina) fell.

      4. John, were it not for a certain Nadal Roger would have had several more French titles, not to mention a number of additional clay masters shields. As Roger has shown, clay can also be about skill and variety (before him – Kuerten, Lendl, Wilander and Borg). After Nadal, everything changed – and not just on clay. Brute power has combined with freakish stamina to dominate the top of the game on all surfaces. And it ain’t just because of the racquets.

    1. Yes – it really seems that Rafa found a way – dope seems more than possible. And if so, I guess he’ll win all next clays, RG included. And raising his ranking – passing Andy and Roger. Hopefully the test people may have same suspicion and not hesitate to find the stuff, and ban it. – Still – it’s never proven. Just a big suspicion. That MAY be false.

      1. But – grudging me anyway cheers for Rafa rather than Djoko on RG. I just don’t wish D a calendar!

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