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Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka rejoices after beating France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their Australian Open quarterfinal match at Melbourne Park on Tuesday. [Photo/IC]
Former Aussie Open champ Stan Wawrinka engaged in a war of words with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before winning the only argument that mattered on Tuesday, storming into the semifinals with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3 win over the Frenchman.
Wawrinka bickered heatedly with the 12th seed during a change of ends after the first set before putting his aggression to better use, wrapping up the one-sided match in two hours and 15 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Fourth seed Wawrinka will next battle compatriot Roger Federer who beat German giant-killer Mischa Zverev.
Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, put in his most complete performance of the tournament against Tsonga, blasting 41 winners past the erratic Frenchman, a former finalist who was only a shadow of his usual energetic self.
Tsonga put up some stout resistance early in the match but that crumbled in the first-set tiebreak when he elected not to try to return a blazing backhand pass.
It landed flush in the corner, giving Wawrinka four set points and Tsonga folded on the first of them.
The pair retired to their chairs between sets and suddenly began sniping at each other.
"What did you say? You're the one looking at me and talking to me. What are you looking for?" Wawrinka barked at Tsonga in French. "Come on, let it go. Did I look at you once?"
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in action against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during Quarterfinals of the Men's Singles at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Jan 24, 2017. [Photo/IC]
Tsonga's best response came in the second set when he broke Wawrinka in the seventh game after the Swiss botched a simple volley and hammered another unforced error.
But after Tsonga handed serve straight back, broken to love, tension threatened to boil over again as Wawrinka came forward to smash a winner directly at his opponent.
He waved an apology, but Tsonga walked away.
Wawrinka stormed on relentlessly, breaking Tsonga twice more with a display of pure power hitting to take the second set.
Tsonga went a break down quickly in the third but had one last chance to rally when Wawrinka gave up a break point at 4-2.
The Swiss slammed the door shut, however, crushing a forehand deep into the corner and then rushing forward to put away the volley.
Within minutes he had three match points, and his third semifinal at Melbourne Park was sewn up when Tsonga pushed a defensive lob over the baseline.
While a semifinal against Federer would hold no fear for Wawrinka, he said he was fully aware his compatriot would be the crowd favorite as he bids for an 18th Grand Slam title.
"It's going to be tough to have some fans, but hopefully a few will cheer for me," Wawrinka said in a courtside interview.
Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during his Men's Singles quarter-final match against Mischa Zverev of Germany at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan 24, 2017. [Photo/IC]
Fluent Federer flattens Zverev
Four-time champion Roger Federer took Mischa Zverev apart 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 with a clinical display of all-court tennis to reach his 13th Australian Open semifinal in just 92 minutes on Tuesday.
Chasing his 18th Grand Slam title, and first since 2012, the 35-year-old Federer neutered the left-handed German's serve-and-volley game to set up a last-four meeting with fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
Zverev had upset top seed Andy Murray in round four but found Federer a much tougher proposition on Rod Laver Arena, losing the first set in 19 minutes and never looking a threat to the world No 17, who was at his fluent best.