Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battles his way to Vienna semi

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates his quarter-final victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem. Picture: AFP/Getty
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates his quarter-final victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem. Picture: AFP/Getty
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Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted the 149th-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to reach the semi-finals of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

Tsonga will take on Robin Haase of the Netherlands for a place in tomorrow’s final, while second-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany faces Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the other semi-final.

The eighth-ranked Frenchman, who won the event in 2011, missed a match point at 5-4 in the final set but converted his second chance in the tiebreaker after two hours, 15 minutes as Thiem hit a forehand long.

“I was really poor from the baseline but I served well,” said Tsonga, who had 16 aces. “I have played many matches like this so I have the experience. That made the difference. I am not in a good shape, I have to fight to win matches.”

The 20-year-old Thiem, who played in only his second quarter-final, said the match was “unbelievable”. “A third-set tiebreaker means the match could have gone either way,” Thiem said. “I am proud I could match a top-ten player.”

Haas reached his seventh semi-final of the season by defeating fifth-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 7-6 (10), 6-3. The victory kept the 12th-ranked German in the running to qualify for next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London. “I live from match to match,” said Haas, who has never before played in the season-ending event.

Haas failed to serve out the opening set at 6-5 but won the tiebreaker after saving four set points for Stepanek. He converted his only break point in the second set.

In Sweden, French wild-card entry Benoit Paire beat second-seeded Milos Raonic 7-6 (3), 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Stockholm Open. Paire will face seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov today after the Bulgarian beat Kenny De Schepper of France 6-4, 6-2.

Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain also advanced when his quarter-final opponent, countryman Fernando Verdasco, pulled out because of an abdominal injury. Ferrer will face fifth-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who had more of a struggle as he advanced with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in little over two hours.

In Moscow, former US Open champion Sam Stosur continued her fine end to the season by beating Ana Ivanovic to reach the semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup.

The Australian won her second title of 2013 in Osaka last week and after a poor start against Ivanovic in which she went 3-0 down she took control to win 7-5, 6-4. Next up for the seventh seed is home hope Svetlana Kuznetsova, who knocked out second seed Roberta Vinci 6-2 6-3.

The other semi will be between fifth seed Simona Halep – who eased past Alisa Kleybanova 6-1, 6-1 – and Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Daniela Hantuchova.

In the men’s draw, top seed Richard Gasquet defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-2 to set up a last-four meeting with 6ft 10in Croatian Ivo Karlovic.