Federer woe
French Open 2015: Federer beaten by Wawrinka
01:10 - Source: CNN
Paris CNN  — 

Roger Federer had admitted pondering what it would be like to win the French Open this year. He also knew, ahead of his quarterfinal against good friend Stan Wawrinka, that he could be headed home.

Unfortunately for the 17-time grand slam champion, a second title at Roland Garros to add to his 2009 triumph may never materialize.

Federer wasn’t considered one of the two – or even three – favorites heading into the season’s second major but a favorable draw saw the 33-year-old land in the opposite half to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Yet instead of Federer getting the chance to take on one of his fellow “Big Four,” it was his fellow Swiss Wawrinka who took another step towards Sunday’s men’s final.

Calling it his best clay-court match in a grand slam, Wawrinka overpowered Federer on Tuesday, winning 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to set up a semifinal clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In defeating Federer for the first time in five attempts at a major, last year’s Australian Open champion hit 43 winners and made only 28 unforced errors in extremely windy conditions.

And for the first time in 13 years, Federer failed to break serve in a grand slam match.

The French can still dream about a first men’s winner at Roland Garros since 1983 after Tsonga edged U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3.

Earlier Tuesday, experience prevailed over youth in the two women’s quarterfinals. Ana Ivanovic and Lucie Safarova reached the semis with straight-set victories over Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza, respectively.

But people were talking about more than tennis on day 10 of the tournament.

A little over a week after a fan ran onto the court and attempted to take a selfie with Federer in a worrying breach of security, the match between Tsonga and Nishikori had to be stopped for about half an hour when a horizontal metal sheet detached from a scoreboard in the upper reaches of Philippe-Chatrier stadium and landed on spectators.

People in seats affected were evacuated and the area was cordoned off. The fans later returned to the section.

“A sheet of metal fell from the scoreboard onto members of the public, three of whom sustained minor injuries,” organizers said in a statement. “The area was secured … spectators have taken their places in the stands.”

Later tournament director Gilbert Ysern said only one fan was injured.

He added that an investigation was underway.

“I don’t have any precise details to share with you,” Ysern told reporters. “We believe that of course it had something to do with the wind. The wind wasn’t that strong, though, so it should not have happened, clearly.”

Federer, over on Suzanne-Lenglen court, said he tried everything to unsettle Wawrinka. It didn’t work.

Wawrinka saved a break point at 5-4 in the first with big hitting and once he secured the opener, Federer’s task became much more difficult.

Not even chants of “Roger, Roger” at 5-5 in the third could destabilize the enigmatic Wawrinka, who went a mediocre 6-4 during the European clay-court swing.

The tension that surfaced when the pair met at the World Tour Finals last November was absent and unlike in London – when Wawrinka wasted four match points – a comeback wasn’t on the cards for Federer.

“I tried many things,” Federer told reporters. “One of them was trying to put (the ball) up high. Another one was trying to chip it shorter. Another one was trying to hit through the wind. Obviously I was not going to leave the French Open without having tried everything out there.

“Stan was clutch on the big points and really didn’t give me much, so it was a credit to him for playing so well.”

Federer’s coach, Stefan Edberg, said his charge wasn’t helped by the conditions on Suzanne Lenglen.

“Stan played a great match, no question,” Edberg told CNN.com. “Roger maybe didn’t come up to his full standard today.

“The thing is, it’s two different courts, the center court and Lenglen. (Lenglen) is a much slower court. It makes it different playing there.”

Tsonga certainly won’t need motivation when he plays Wawrinka – the Swiss crushed the 14th seed in the Davis Cup final on clay in Lille, France in late November. Their two meetings at the French Open have gone to five sets.

Tsonga got over the finish line with the crowd’s help Tuesday and repaid them by using his shoes to write into the clay, “Roland je t’aime,” which translates to, “Roland I love you.” He then dropped, back first, onto the clay with arms outstretched.

Until the stoppage at 5-2 in the second set, Tsonga – who has missed most of the season due to injury – was well in control. The extended break, though, turned things around for Nishikori and conversely made matters complicated for Tsonga.

“He came (back) on the court with different purpose and he played a lot better,” Tsonga told reporters. “He gave me a lot of difficulty to find a solution. Then it was a fifth set. But then I served pretty well and was really solid.”

Tsonga is hoping his performance in the semifinals Friday is better than when he reached the same stage in 2013. Flat, he was comfortably dispatched by David Ferrer.

Ivanovic improved to 7-0 against the 20-year-old Svitolina with a 6-3 6-2 victory, spoiling the Ukrainian’s outing in her maiden grand slam quarterfinal.

Ivanovic, a former world No. 1 watched by German soccer star boyfriend Bastian Schweinsteiger, will compete in the semifinals of a major for the first time since 2008, when she won the title in Paris.

Safarova progressed by topping the 21-year-old Muguruza 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to achieve a second grand slam semifinal after Wimbledon last year.

The Czech, seeded 13th, followed up her shock win over defending champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. She’ll soon be headed to the top 10.

Wednesday’s action is highlighted by nine-time champion Nadal’s quarterfinal with world No. 1 Djokovic.

Expect more drama then.

Read: Wilander picks Djokovic for title