French Open: Stan Wawrinka beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in semis
Stan Wawrinka ended home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's hopes in a sweltering semi-final victory at the French Open.
The Swiss eighth seed won 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 as temperatures exceeded 30C in Paris.
Wawrinka, 30, will face top seed Novak Djokovic or Britain's Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.
Tsonga had hoped to become France's first male champion since Yannick Noah in 1983.
The 30-year-old from Le Mans had reached the semi-finals once before, losing in straight sets to David Ferrer two years ago, but he went a lot closer this time.
In the end, a tally of just one break point converted from 17 told of a huge opportunity missed.
Wawrinka will try to win his second Grand Slam title on Sunday, following his victory at the Australian Open last year.
Asked if he had realised a boyhood dream, he said: "My dream was to play Roland Garros, not to win it, not to reach the finals.
"To me, the players that did that were mutants. The fact that I have reached the finals now here is something exceptional after winning a Grand Slam in Australia a year ago now.
"And to think that this is yet another final in yet another Grand Slam, it's something amazing."
The Swiss made a flying start to the first semi-final, breaking serve from 40-0 down in the first game and again at the start of the second set.
However, his first serve then completely deserted him and Tsonga began to claw his way back, earning a tie-break which he dominated.
The crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier had been slow to arrive but was now in full voice as their man pushed hard in the third set, but despite dropping only three points on serve, Tsonga could not convert six break points that came his way.
Wawrinka, who had required a blister on his finger to be taped, made it to the relative sanctuary of a second tie-break and grabbed his chance after a couple of loose Tsonga backhands.
Both men appeared to be flagging at times in the fourth set but Tsonga paid for a poor opening service game that saw him double-fault at 0-40.
The break points continued to come and go for Tsonga, with Wawrinka saving four more - one with an ace, another with a searing backhand winner - as he edged towards victory at 3-1.
A chorus of "Allez Tsonga! Allez Tsonga!" rang around Chatrier as he came out to try and keep his hopes alive, but there were no more break points on offer as Wawrinka calmly served out to reach his second major final.
"I tried to give my best, so I don't have a lot of regrets," said Tsonga. "I should have seized some opportunities; had some break point opportunities but I didn't convert them.
"I can't find the word, but I didn't seize the opportunities. So I lost, and that's logical. That's it."