The top seed Roger Federer stayed on the course towards the tenth Halle crown in 2019, advancing to the 17th quarter-final at one of the favorite events with a hard-fought 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in two hours and 16 minutes.
Playing against each other for the first time since Monte Carlo 2016, Federer had to give his best to score the first victory over Tsonga since 2014, also serving revenge for that terrible 2011 Wimbledon loss when he was two sets to love in front.
Like against Millman in the first round, it wasn't the most excellent performance from the best grass-court player in the Open era, taking one point more than Jo-Wilfried and facing seven break chances. The Frenchman converted only two of those, coming from a set and a break down and staying in contention until the decisive game at 5-5 in the third when Roger broke to take the final step towards victory.
Blasting 15 aces and 46 winners overall, Tsonga also hit 31 unforced errors while the Swiss stayed on a 35-19 ratio, finding a way to cross the finish line first and move into the last eight. The returners took only one point in the opening four games, and Federer was the first to experience troubles behind the initial shot at 2-2.
Roger Federer prevailed over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round in Halle 2019.
He fended off two break points to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard and created a set point on the return at 5-4 with a volley winner.
Jo-Wilfried saved it with a booming serve, and the tie break became inevitable at that point. The Frenchman opened a 3-0 lead before Roger fought back, landing a deep return at 5-4 and securing the opener with a service winner at 6-5 after challenging 50 minutes.
Carried by this momentum, the crowd favorite blasted another excellent return to open the second set with a break, forging a 3-1 advantage before Tsonga erased the deficit with a break in game six after a tough volley that Roger failed to control.
The Frenchman had the upper hand in those moments, playing well and delivering another break at 5-4 following Federer's volley mistake to close the set and set up a decider, mighty relieved he is still in the match after being a set and a break down not that long ago.
In one of the pivotal moments, Roger repelled a break chance in the third set's sixth game and earned a break at 15 at 5-5 to serve for the victory. Four winners pushed Federer over the finish line in that 12th game for his 65th win in Halle, setting the quarter-final clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.