Djokovic and Federer narrowly avoid last tango in Paris

(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer danced with danger at the French Open on Tuesday but there was to be no last tango in Paris as both emerged victorious to set up a repeat of last year's semi-final.

World number one Djokovic displayed an iron will as he crossed a chasm of adversity to save four match points against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to keep alive his dream of holding all four grand slam titles at the same time.

The Serb eventually prevailed 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-6 6-1 and it was a similarly happy ending for Federer who recovered from two sets down to oust Argentine firecracker Juan Martin del Potro 3-6 6-7 6-2 6-0 6-3.

The women's draw unfurled without the drama and intensity of the men's as sixth seed Sam Stosur put out Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 6-4 6-1 to set up a semi-final encounter with unfancied Italian Sara Errani who upset German Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6.

A guttural roar that could be heard halfway up the Eiffel Tower echoed around the hostile Philippe Chatrier court as Djokovic finally dispatched his fired-up French opponent.

He had to overcome a turbo-charged Tsonga whose every shot was cheered by a baying French crowd in a visceral on-court atmosphere.

"As a tennis player this is what you live for," Djokovic told reporters.

"This is what you practice for all these years, to be part of an incredible performance, incredible match encounter here in Roland Garros."

It was a similar tale for Federer who, at two sets down, was sinking under a barrage of baseline cannon fire from Del Potro.

The Swiss stared into the abyss before then making the most of his opponent's fragile mindset and suspect knee.

Del Potro received painkillers at 5-0 down in the third set and had his aching joint restrapped but he could not stop Federer romping away to ensure a repeat of last year's semi-final when the 16-times grand slam winner triumphed in four sets.

That was the last time Djokovic was beaten in a major but the Serb has looked far from his best at Roland Garros.


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