Unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stunned world No. 2 Rafael Nadal on Thursday to reach the men's final at the 2008 Australian Open.
The 22-year-old Tsonga trounced the second-seeded Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena, as the surprising Frenchman will now appear in his first Grand Slam final against either top-seeded Roger Federer or No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic, who will clash here on Friday.
Tsonga routed Nadal in just under two hours, as the talented Frenchman launched 17 aces among a whopping 49 winners on Day 11 at
The excitable Tsonga had the crowd roaring in his favor by displaying a mix of power and deft touch at the net.
The big-serving Frenchman jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set and never looked back. He broke Nadal at love to close out the opening stanza and continued to roll from there.
Tsonga sent Nadal packing with one final ace to end the match and then proceeded to jump around the court in celebration.
"It's unbelievable, just amazing," Tsonga said. "Nothing can stop me today. It's like a dream. Every day is like a dream. I can't believe it's true."
The helpless Nadal recorded only 13 winners in the lopsided setback.
"He played unbelievable," Nadal said of Tsonga afterwards. "Congratulate him."
The big-hitting Tsonga has also beaten the likes of eighth-seeded fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, ninth-seeded Brit Andy Murray and 14th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny here in
Tsonga is the first French Aussie Open finalist since Arnaud Clement in 2001 and the first player to reach his first-ever ATP-level final at a Grand Slam event since Gustavo Kuerten turned the trick at the 1997 French Open.
On Friday, Federer will try to extend his Aussie Open winning streak to 20 matches when he battles Djokovic, who has yet to lose a set at this fortnight.
Federer is 5-1 lifetime against Djokovic, as the Swiss superstar won three-of- four meetings last season, with the Serb's lone victory coming in a final in
The amazing Federer will play in a record 15th straight major semi and will try to land in his 11th straight Grand Slam final, another record. The reigning Aussie Open,
Djokovic, the runner-up at last year's
The men's final will be staged here on Sunday night, with the winner taking home $1.2 million.