For the fifth time in their career, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Albert Ramos-Vinolas went head-to-head. The Frenchman seeded six, came away with a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory to book his place in the Erste Bank Open semifinals.
The Frenchman will face 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic for a place in the final. The pair has met only twice, both coming at Wimbledon in 2009 and 2015 being five-setters. The Croatian has won both matches giving him a 100 percent winning ratio.
Tsonga runs away with the set
Ramos earned two double break point chances after Tsonga served a double-fault. The Frenchman saved one of them at the net using great hands with the other being saved by thumping down an ace as he brought the game to deuce. Tsonga then served two more big serves as he held a tricky game to get the match underway. Ramos, on the other hand, held his serve quickly and comfortably to put his name on the board.
Tsonga's serve was a bit hit and miss during the match and having taken a love-30 lead, he then served two double-faults but managed to escape the game with his ever reliable forehand. The Spaniard never settled down during the set and a slice hit straight into the net to give Tsonga a break point.
An aggressive forehand winner brought the game to deuce. But back-to-back double-faults allowed Tsonga to gain the first break of the match. The Frenchman consolidated with ease for 4-1 as he took full charge of the match. Tsonga began dictating the play more and a forehand winner gave him a triple break point opportunity for a double break lead. Ramos managed to save two of the three break points before hitting a backhand into the net.
Now serving for the set, Ramos took a love-40 lead and broke when Tsonga's serve let him down. Struggling to make an impact, the 28-year-old shanked a forehand which presented the Frenchman with two match points. Ramos conceded the game when a forehand hit the net and Tsonga won the set, 6-2.
Tsonga troubled; wins match via tiebreaker
Tsonga started the second set holding serve quickly for 1-0. Ramos also held serve confidently, holding to love, 1-1. The very next game saw the first break point of the set go the way of Ramos after a slice forehand from the Frenchman went wide. Tsonga erased the point with an ace before firing two more aces to stay infront at 2-1. Now at 2-2, Ramos earned a third break point after Tsonga drove forward allowing the Spaniard the chance to hit the passing shot with a terrific forehand.
The 2011 champion hit a big first serve to deny Ramos, however, he continued to trouble Tsonga and gained another but couldn't get over the finishing line after the Frenchman held serve hitting a forehand winner. The next five service games were easy holds of serve as the set neared ever closer to its climax.
At 30-15, Tsonga allowed Ramos back into the match after overcooking what looked to be a simple volley at the net. Tsonga managed to wriggle himself out of a troubled service game, hitting a short second serve to edge out infront at 6-5. Ramos held serve to love and set up a nervous finish with a tiebreaker. It was the Frenchman who got the mini-break in the tiebreak going 2-0 up when Ramos fired a forehand into the net.
From then on in, the 31-year-old stayed infront and earned his first match point. Tsonga drew the error from Ramos when he fired a big forehand as he gained three match points at 6-3. The Spaniard saved two match points on his serve but a forehand winner down the line gave Tsonga the victory.