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Federer storms ahead as Murray and Tsonga exit Open

Switzerland's Roger Federer booted his close friend and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka out of the French Open on Sunday, while Britain's Andy Murray made an angry departure and France's Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga (photo) was forced to retire injured.


AFP - Defending champion Roger Federer showed no mercy to Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday, handing his Olympic gold medal-winning teammate a French Open hiding as Andy Murray made an angry Roland Garros exit.

World number one Federer beat close friend Wawrinka 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 and nows faces Robin Soderling, the Swedish fifth seed who he defeated in the final last year.

But his efforts were overshadowed by Czech 12th seed Tomas Berdych who sent British fourth seed Murray to a shock 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 defeat.

Berdych's reward is a last eight clash against Russia's Mikhail Youzhny who went through when final French hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired injured after losing the first set of their clash.

Murray, a quarter-finalist in 2009, was furious that his match was concluded at 2130 (1930GMT) in fading light and after the tie had already suffered a 40-minute rain delay.

Berdych had won the first set 6-4 with Murray ahead 4-3 in the second when play was halted for rain at 2000 (1800 GMT) and most fans had already left Court Suzanne Lenglen believing that the match would conclude on Monday.

But play resumed despite the dank surroundings and Murray never settled, arguing constantly with officials as well as berating himself.

"It was frustrating. I struggled after the rain delay," said Murray, who was keen not to blame the gloomy atmosphere for his loss.

"They put a lot of clay on the baseline and service line during the delay, but at the back of the court it was slippy and I lost my footing a few times.

"But I don't want to make excuses. They were tough conditions but he just handled them better than me."

Berdych added: "There was the delay and the darkness, maybe I handled it better. My coach told me that Andy looked like he didn't want to play."   

Soderling sent four-time champion Rafael Nadal crashing to a shock defeat in 2009 on his way to a first Grand Slam final, but Federer will be buoyed by his record of 12 wins in 12 matches against the Swede when they meet on Tuesday.

Soderling reached the quarter-finals with a brutal 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 demolition of Croatian 10th seed Marin Cilic.  

Federer has reached the quarter-finals without losing a set and is widely expected once again to be facing Nadal in the final next weekend, but he was refusing to get carried away by his smooth progress.

"I could have lost a set against Alejandro Falla in the second round and today against Stan and after this, you never know," said Federer.

"So I am happy with what's happened. I'm playing well, serving well and moving well. I hope it continues like this."

Wawrinka, who teamed up with Federer to win 2008 Olympic gold in Beijing in what he described as the greatest night of his life, picked up a code violation for angrily smashing his racquet into the Paris clay as he slipped to defeat.

"Frustration. Nothing but frustration," said Wawrinka.

French hopes of a first men's champion since Yannick Noah in 1983 fizzled out when eighth-seeded Tsonga was forced to retire with a suspected groin injury.

Youzhny had won the first set 6-2 before the Frenchman, who had entered Court Philippe Chatrier with a flamboyant clenched-fist gesture, needed treatment on his injury and then quit before the start of the second set.

Tsonga was jeered off court by some sections of the crowd following his 31-minute stay.

"I can understand that people are disappointed, but I can look myself in the mirror. I know I did my best. If I have an injury, it's not my fault," he said.

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