NEW YORK, Sept 7: Defending champion Novak Djokovic booked a 10th straight US Open semifinal appearance when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired trailing 6-3, 6-2 in their marquee quarterfinal on Tuesday.
It was the third time in five matches that an opponent�s injury has worked to Djokovic�s advantage, after his walkover into the third round where Mikhail Youzhny retired after just six games.
Ninth-seeded Tsonga gave him more of a workout, but even before an apparent left knee injury began to trouble the Frenchman in the second set Djokovic had the match well in hand.
The Serbian world number one will face another Frenchman, Gael Monfils, for a place in Sunday�s championship match after the 10th seed pummelled compatriot Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
It was the first time in 89 years that three French men had reached the quarterfinals of the US championships. Tsonga was the highest seed among them, but his challenge ended with a whimper.
Down two breaks at 2-5 in the second, he called for the trainer, wincing as his knee was manipulated. A merciless Djokovic then served out the set at love, firing a 118 mph (189.9 Km/h) ace � his first of the contest � on set point.
After Tsonga opened the third set with a double fault he called a halt.
�I really wish Jo a quick recovery,� Djokovic said. �He�s a fighter, he�s somebody that loves the big stage.�
But Tsonga wasn�t able to shine on that stage. Despite an entertaining array of shots, the longer the rallies went the more he missed, his unforced errors eventually climbing to 37.
In Monfils, 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will face a player whose only prior semifinal run at a major came back in 2008 at the French Open.
Monfils was in control throughout against the 22-year-old Pouille, who was coming off an epic fifth-set tiebreaker win over 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal. That marked the 24th-seeded Pouille�s third straight five-setter. Whether it was a let-down after the biggest win of his career or sheer fatigue, his 44 unforced errors meant he never stood a chance against a dialed-in Monfils.
�Of course I was a bit tired today,� Pouille said. �It would have been better if I played a bit less time on court. Gael was playing very good. He was better than me today.� � AFP