The last Frenchman to win a men’s singles title on the red clay of Roland Garros was Yannick Noah in 1983.
Now, 29 years later, the French will have to wait at least one more year to celebrate one of their own at their major championship.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic charged back from the brink of elimination to fend off Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and advance to an eighth straight Grand Slam semifinal, 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-1. Djokovic will face third-seeded Roger Federer — a come-from-behind five-set winner against Juan Martin del Potro — in a semifinal Friday.
The powerful 27-year-old Tsonga came up empty on four break chances in Djokovic’s final two service games of the fourth set, and failed to capitalize on several opportunities in the ensuing tiebreaker.
After Djokovic ripped a forehand into the open court to close out a swift fifth and final set, the world’s No. 1 player arched his back, clenched his fists and let out a roar.
The come-from-behind win was Djokovic’s second in three days after he rallied from two sets down to beat Andreas Seppi in another grueling match.
With the win, Djokovic continued his remarkable streak of seven straight major semifinal appearances, which includes four of the last five Grand Slam titles.
In the day’s other quarterfinal, del Potro grabbed a two-sets-to-love lead before Federer’s consistent pressure and a nagging injury took him out of the match. Federer blitzed the big Argentine in the final three sets, winning 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-0, 6-3.
Federer beat Djokovic in an epic five-set 2011 semifinal to keep Djokovic from getting a shot at a Grand Slam sweep.