You would have expected so much more from Jo-Wilfred Tonga, ranked ninth against the No. 1 seeded Novak Djokovic, after watching his earlier matches this past week, and listening to his friend and competitor, Gael Monfils, ranked 10th, speak so highly of him.

“He’s one of my best friends,” said Monfils about Tsonga. “He’s a brother. He’s someone I grew up with. He’s someone I looked up at when I was younger, because he was a bit older than me.” Both are Frenchmen of color. Monfils spoke after his defeat of Lucas Pouille, ranked 24th, also from France, in the quarterfinals. 

In tennis vernacular, Tsonga retired (quit) after losing two sets to Djokovic, the defending US Open champion Tuesday night. Djokovic, 29, will play Monfils, 30, tonight (Thursday) in the semifinals in Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the Open.

At the end of two losing sets, 6-3, 6-2, Tsonga received some medical attention, then ended the match before the start of the third.

Although Djokovic recently faced his own health issues with his wrist and elbow, his last three opponents weren’t able to complete the matches against him.

“I got a lot of days off and recovered my body,” he said. “Right now, I’m feeling very close to the peak. That’s the position where I want to be.” Djokovic, the defending US Open Men’s Champion, now advances to the Open semifinals for the 10th straight year.