Federer stretched but not enough
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Tsonga hit back, breaking Federer in the seventh game of the second and allowing the Swiss only two points on his serve before sealing it with a huge serve that grazed the T-line.
The momentum swung again in the third as Federer lifted the pressure with stunning retrievals and roared as he landed a searing backhand down the line to bring up two set points.
Federer closed it out in spectacular fashion, charging to his left to retrieve a stinging cross-court backhand, then angling an improbable return at Tsonga's shoelaces that the Frenchmen could only poke wide. That was the prelude for a stunning fourth set as both players struggling to hold serve in the face of sumptuous shot-making.
With adrenalin still pumping, Tsonga landed a telling blow, firing a scorching passing shot to bring up break point in the eighth game, then finessing a backhand volley into the corner to serve for the match.
Federer blasted a backhand wide to allow the pumped-up Frenchman set point, and Tsonga, tension etched on his brow, sealed it with an ace.
Federer went for the jugular in the third game of the fifth set, breaking the Frenchman and calmly marching on to keep his campaign alive for an 18th grand slam title.
Victoria Azarenka, with her most famous fan sitting in the crowd wearing a shirt reminding her to keep calm, overcame some early jitters to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1.
After dropping serve in a long fourth game that went to deuce 10 times, Azarenka recovered to dominate the rest of the match against Kuznetsova, a two-time major winner who was floating dangerously in the draw with a No. 75 ranking as she recovers from a knee injury.
Azarenka's American rapper friend, Redfoo, attended the quarterfinal wearing a red sleeveless T-shirt that read "Keep Calm and Bring Out the Bottles," the name of his next single, and clapped and yelled "Come on, Vika!" during the tight first set. Asked if it helped to have her No. 1 fan wearing a keep calm logo, Azarenka said "I was looking more at the part that says 'Bring out the bottles.'''