Published November 02, 2012
PARIS – Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz kept his great run going at the Paris Masters on Friday, advancing to the semifinals when a dizzy and fatigued Janko Tipsarevic stopped playing.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain moved closer to his first Masters title after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-2, 7-5. Ferrer's semifinal opponent will be the winner of Friday's late match between Frenchman Michael Llodra and big-serving American Sam Querrey.
The 69th-ranked Janowicz faces Gilles Simon in the semifinals. The Frenchman beat fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. Janowicz understands the challenge of playing Simon before a Paris crowd.
"Mentally, I'm a really tough guy," Janowicz said. "I remember in my match against Andy Murray in Great Britain during Davis Cup three years ago, whole crowd was against me, over 5,000 people. I didn't really care."
Ferrer did not face a break point against Tsonga, the 2008 champion, breaking him three times in the match. Tsonga, seeded sixth, saved two match points before hitting a forehand wide.
Janowicz was leading 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 against the eighth-seeded Tipsarevic. Janowicz saved one match point in his third-round win against Murray on Thursday and had broken Tipsarevic for the second time in the third set when the Serb called for a trainer.
Tipsarevic continued for a few moments, and Janowicz was 40-0 up on his serve when Tipsarevic waved his racket to indicate he was stopping, drawing jeers from the crowd at the Bercy indoor arena. There were huge cheers for the 21-year-old Janowicz.
"It's really not easy for me to realize actually what is going on in my life right now," Janowicz said. "I did something magical. I just played really like I can put every single ball in, and I'm in semifinal ... my family was crying after yesterday's match and after today's match."
Organizers said that Tipsarevic, who qualified Thursday for the season-ending World Tour Finals in London next week, started feeling fatigued at the end of the first set.
"I didn't realize there is something wrong with him," Janowicz said. "He was basically playing the same tennis like in the first set ... maybe he was dizzy or had headache or whatever."
Janowicz explained that his grit partly comes from a difficult childhood.
"I was bad boy at the school. High school I was fighting with everyone, with teachers. I was really bad guy," he said. "It's really not easy for me to explain why I'm that kind of guy, why, for example, yesterday I played against Andy Murray and I didn't feel pressure at all."
Janowicz, who was playing in Futures tournaments at the start of the year and is still struggling for sponsorship at home. He has beaten four players ranked in the top 20 on his way to the last four — Philipp Kohlschreiber (19) Marin Cilic (15), Murray (3) and now Tipsarevic (9). Simon is ranked 20th.
"Maybe because of this win I will get some bigger sponsor," said Janowicz, adding that he has been on every Polish television channel since beating Murray. "This year I didn't go to Australian Open because I just didn't have money."
He slept little after the Murray win, and expects to be up until the early hours again following his latest upset.
"It doesn't matter if I sleep. I don't eat," Janowicz said. "Right now I'm playing best tennis of my life."
Janowicz picked up his form in the second set, breaking Tipsarevic twice. The 21-year-old did not face a single breakpoint, and held to love on his service game to level the match.
Tipsarevic double-faulted twice in losing the third game of the third set and Janowicz then held to love with an ace on his second serve to open up a 3-1 lead. He broke Tipsarevic again with a booming forehand winner for 4-1.
Jerome Pugmire can be reached at http://twitter.com/jeromepugmire