ROGER Federer believes Stan Wawrinka’s best chance of winning another grand slam title is on the French Open’s clay.
The grand slam record-holder made the claim after losing 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to his Swiss compatriot at Roland Garros.
“He obviously played unbelievable at the (2014) Australian Open and some other matches where he’s played very well,” Federer said. “I don’t think this is the first for anybody who has seen Stan play this way. We know he can do this.
“It’s just nice for him now, even talking for him, to string it together on a big occasion like this at the French where I always thought he’d have his best chance to do well.,” he said. “The Australian was a surprise for many, but the French people always thought this is where he would get closer to winning potentially.
“For him it’s obviously great to be in the semis now. I thought he played really good tennis out there,” Federer said.
Perennially overshadowed by his celebrated countryman, Wawrinka will face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried in the last four.
The 14th seed upset world No 5 Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 before scuffing the English equivalent of “I love Roland” with his shoes in the clay.
The Australian Open finalist sent a parochial gallery into delirium after upstaging Nishikori to reach his sixth major semi and second here.
Wawrinka outgunned his more celebrated compatriot and was supreme on serve in a wonderful display of sustained excellence.
More than a third of underdog Wawrinka’s 111 points — 43 — came from winners. Federer managed a modest 28.
The world No 2 was obviously unimpressed with officiating late in the match, sarcastically greeting correct calls with ‘Voila.’
Federer said he had few answers to Wawrinka’s firepower, varying his tactics to hit low, high and with spin.
Tsonga made a blistering start winning 11 of the first 12 games to have shell-shocked Nishikori at his mercy.
Adored in Asia, and watched courtside by a huge contingent of Japanese media, Nishikori imploded meekly.
Armed with all the momentum, Tsonga was poised to serve for the set when wind blew the metallic section off an electronic scoreboard.
Tsonga and Nishikori waited 35 minutes before the battle resumed and Tsonga immediately dropped serve.
He regrouped to pocket the set for a 2-0 lead but proceeded to lose the next two sets.
But as Nishikori moved in for the kill, Tsonga reacted superbly to storm to a 4-1 lead.
Unlike the third set, where Tsonga botched an opportunity to seal the win, there was no mistake.