There was little between the pair throughout the match, which lasted for well over three hours.
A break early in the fifth set allowed the second seed to get the better of the Frenchman and take the match, to set up a semi-final against Britain's Andy Murray.
Read how all the action unfolded below:
8.13amGood morning, we're around 20 minutes from the players heading out to the Rod Laver Arena to play for a place in the last four.
8.16amIn their previous 11 matches, Federer has won on eight occasions and Tsonga on three. Last time they met, Tsonga was given a walkover at the Qatar Open last year after Federer withdrew. However, Federer has won the last four times that they have actually played.
8.19amFederer has 17 Grand Slam singles titles, including four at this tournament. Tsonga is yet to win a Slam, but did make the final of the Australian Open in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic.
8.23amThere's already been a big upset today, with American teenager Sloane Stephens knocking out Serena Williams, setting up a semi-final against defending champion Victoria Azarenka, after she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova.
8.28amThe world number eight has made the last four of a Grand Slam once in each of the last three years. He starts 2013 with a new coach, having hired Roger Rasheed, who previously coached Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils.
8.32amThis will be Roger Federer's 35th consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam quarter-final. The last time he failed to make the last eight was in 2004, when he was knocked out of the French Open in the third round.
8.34amDuring those 34 previous appearances, Federer went on to win the title on 15 occasions, and only failed to progress to the semis four times.
8.35amThe players have been introduced to the crowd and head out on to court. There's a big cheer for Tsonga, but it's Federer who the fans have turned up to see. If the roof had been on, it would have been raised a bit when the Swiss players walked out from the dressing rooms.
8.37amBoth players will take part in a short warm-up before the match gets underway.
8.41amThere are good conditions at the Rod Laver Arena, where it's early evening. It's 24°C, and there's no rain expected.
8.43amThe warm-up is done and the match is ready to get underway. Tsonga will serve first.
Tsonga 0-1* FedererBREAK! It's a shaky start from the Frenchman. An early double fault helps Federer earn two break points. A big serve from Tsonga helps him save the first, but forces his volley wide on the next point to go a break down.
Tsonga *0-2 FedererTsonga tries to outhit Federer from the baseline, but the second seed to too strong, and is easily able to hold his first service game of the match.
Tsonga 1-2* FedererTsonga opens with an ace, before beating Federer with his backhand. A long forehand and a missed volley allow Federer back in to the game from 40-0 down, but the the world number two fires his forehand long to give the game to Tsonga.
Tsonga *1-3 FedererFederer faces his first break point following a couple of mis-hits, the first not make it over the net, with the second going well long. The Swiss calmly saves the break point, sending Tsonga in the wrong direction, leaving the Frenchman rubbing his back in pain. Federer concedes another break point when he catches a forehand on the net, but Tsonga does the same on the next point to return the game to deuce. Federer ups his game with some stunning backhand shots to take the game after a bit of a scare.
Tsonga 2-3* FedererA much better service game from Tsonga. The Frenchman races to a 40-0 lead with some well-placed serves. Federer takes a point after sending a brilliant forehand down the sideline, but Tsonga clinches the game on the next point.
Tsonga *3-3 FedererBREAK! A badly-timed volley and a long forehand allow Tsonga to take a 30-0 lead. A few mistakes from the fifth seed allow Federer to get back in to the game, but Tsonga hits a superb volley to take the game to deuce. He brings up break point with a breathtaking cross-court forehand which just clips the sideline, leaving Federer rooted to the spot. A long forehand from Federer gives Tsonga the break back. The Swiss started this set looking strong, but has crumbled over the last couple of games.
Tsonga 4-3* FedererIt may have been a slow start from Tsonga, but he's firing on all cylinders now. Tsonga completed an easy hold by jumping to make a volley. Federer will need to find his best tennis to get back in front in this set.
Tsonga *4-4 FedererAfter easily taking a 30-0 lead, Federer serves a double fault. He finds a big serve to force Tsonga to mis-hit the return, before hitting his forehand too hard to give Federer the game.
Tsonga 5-4* FedererTsonga thinks he's won a point by smashing a volley past his opponent, but Federer reaches high to make the return and bring up a break point. However, he hits his forehand in to the net to take the game to deuce. Tsonga finishes with a much better volley than his earlier one, and this time Federer's return is wide.
Tsonga *5-5 FedererIt's an easy game for Federer, who plays some brilliant forehands to keep Tsonga from winning a single point during the game.
Tsonga 6-5* FedererTsonga is gliding around the court at the moment, making brilliant shots from all over the place! Federer will have to serve to stay in the first set again.
Tsonga 6-6 FedererFederer seems to have rediscovered his serving rhythm, sealing an easy service game with an ace to take the set to a tiebreak.
9.35amAn early mini-break in the tiebreak ensured that Federer was always in control of the tiebreak. Tsonga was unlucky to lose a point to a Federer ace. The ball initially being called wide but a challenge from the number two seed showed that the tiniest amount of the ball just brushes the line. The set ended with Tsonga getting a forehand caught on the net.
9.36amFederer looked below par for much of the first set, while Tsonga fought back well after a poor start. The Frenchman will be disappointed not to have taken the set. With Federer ending the set strongly, it could be a missed opportunity for Tsonga.
Tsonga 6-7 *0-1 FedererFederer looks comfortable in the opening game of the set, easily holding his serve. A looping forehand from Tsonga allows the world number two to smash a high volley past the Frenchman to take the game.
Tsonga 6-7 1-1* FedererIt's a good start from the fifth seed too, racing to a 40-0 lead, before giving a point to Federer after getting his forehand stuck in the net, but he clinches the game with the next point. Good starts to the second set from both players. We could be in for another close one.
Tsonga 6-7 *1-2 FedererFederer open with an ace, but Tsonga responds by catching him out while he's at the net, sliding a forehand beyond him. Federer finds another ace to take it to 40-30, with Tsonga finding the net again on the next point to allow Federer to hold serve.
Tsonga 6-7 2-2* FedererTsonga races to a 40-0 lead with the aid of some big serves. He takes the game with an ace, having barely allowed Federer a hit.
Tsonga 6-7 *2-3 FedererFederer starts the game with a double fault, but gets back on track with some stunning shots from the net to get the better of the Frenchman. A wild forehand from Tsonga goes well wide to give Federer a 40-15 lead, and another wide stroke in the next stroke seals the game for the Swiss. Both players are looking so strong in this set, it's hard to see either of them being broken.
Tsonga 6-7 3-3* FedererFederer manages just one return against the Tsonga serve in the game, which takes less than a minute. The world number eight has been deadly on serve in this second set.
Tsonga 6-7 *4-3 FedererBREAK! Federer's serve has blown hot and cold throughout the match. At 30-30 he takes an unlucky hit on the net chord which drags the ball long to give Tsonga a break point, and Tsonga forces a mistake from him on the next point to go a break up.
9.55amFederer has barely been able to make returns against Tsonga's serve during this set, but he'll need to do so now if he doesn't want to lose his first set of the tournament.
Tsonga 6-7 5-3* FedererFederer does manage to make some good returns against the Tsonga serve, but he's still beaten in rallies by the Frenchman, struggling with his accuracy as he sends several shots long. Tsonga needs just one game to level the match.
Tsonga 6-7 *5-4 FedererFederer fights back from 30-15 down to hold serve. There have been longer rallies during the last couple of games, with Tsonga so far getting the better of his opponent. The Frenchman will now serve for the second set.
10.06amTsonga open with an ace before Federer looks to have beaten him with a stunning forehand stroke, but it goes a shade long. Another long rally sees Federer get the ball stuck at the net, and gives the fifth seed three sets points. He wastes the first with an over-hit forehand, but a powerful serve on the next point is too much for Federer to return, and after 1 hour and 20 minutes the match is level.
10.07amThat's the first set that Federer has dropped during this year's Australian Open. Prior to today's game, the world number two had not had his serve broken for 57 games.
10.08amThe start of the third set has just been delayed a little. Tsonga has nipped off court for a "comfort break".
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 *0-1 FedererWell that was a fairly easy start to the third set for Federer. He races to a 40-0 lead, then a mis-hit gives Tsonga a point, but the Frenchman hits the ball in to the net, and Federer wins the game.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 0-2* FedererBREAK! Tsonga looks like he's let his level dip a little at the start of the game, as Federer takes a 30-0 lead. Tsonga then gets the better of the second seed in one of the best rallies of the match so far. A backhand gives Federer break point, which he takes when Tsonga gets his volley caught on the net. Tsonga doesn't seem to have the same focus he had in the last set.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 *1-2 FedererBREAK! Just when Federer seemed to have the better of Tsonga, the Frenchman takes it up a gear and plays some superb shots to get the break back straight away. He got lucky when challenging a line call mid-rally, but he was right to do so, and a wide forehand from Federer sealed the game for his opponent
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 2-2* FedererA closely-fought game sees the score at deuce. Tsonga has advantage twice and fails to convert either. Federer then gets a break point when his opponent sends a reckless hit well long. Tsonga responds with a stunning forehand which just clips the line, before an ace and another big serve which Federer can't return allows Tsonga to hold. A big of a scare for the Frenchman, but he comes through it.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 *2-3 FedererA good service game from Federer sees the second seed win his first game in three. After missing his first serve, the Swiss takes a risk by going for a big second serve, which catches Tsonga out, helping Federer on his way to an easy hold.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 3-3* FedererA much more convincing game from Tsonga. He whips his forehand cross-court to beat Federer and hold serve again. There has been very little between the two in this set, and the whole match.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 4-4* FedererTsonga hits another two aces on his way to a comfortable hold, to take his total number of aces to 11 so far this match. Federer fails to take a point off the Frenchman.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 *4-5 FedererTsonga looks to attack against the Federer serve, but the world number two is too strong. Tsonga misses a forehand return while running along the baseline, and Federer easily takes the game. If he can break Tsonga now he'll take the set.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 5-5* FedererTsonga's serve is too good for Federer, and once again the second seed fails to take a point against him. The world number eight uses both placement and power to get the better of his opponent, making it too hard to return his serve.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 *5-6 FedererFederer has to dig deep to hold his serve, as Tsonga takes him to 30-30. Federer's backhand rescues him, and he's guaranteed at least a tiebreak for the set.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-6 FedererAt 30-30, Federer hits the ball long. He challenges but hawkeye shows that it was well long. Tsonga goes on to take the game, and they head in to a tiebreak.
11amSimilar to the first set tiebreak, Federer took an early mini-break, but this time Tsonga fought back. However, the Swiss took it up a notch and opened up a two point lead to give himself set points, which he converted at the first time of asking.
11amTsonga has gone off the court again, this time for a change of shoes and socks.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 1-0* FedererTsonga makes a good start to the fourth set, taking his opening service game without dropping a point. Djokovic turned his game against Wawrinka around with a change of shoes. Maybe the same will happen for Tsonga.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 *1-1 FedererTsonga looks for an early break, attacking the Federer serve, but the second seed is equal to it, and seals the game with a brilliant backhand volley.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 2-1* FedererTsonga's accuracy has dropped a little, a couple of long balls help Federer to three break points. The pair exchange shots at the net, Tsonga coming out on top to save the first break point, before Federer finds the net on the next rally. A big serve brings the game to deuce. A long forehand from Federer gives the Frenchman advantage, and he takes the game with an ace. Tsonga did well to get out of that game with his serve intact.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 *2-2 FedererTsonga wins a superb rally to bring up two break points. A cross-court forehand from Federer is returned too low by Tsonga and catches the net. His footwork lets him down on the second break point. At deuce, Federer finds a couple of big serves to secure the game.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 3-2* FedererTsonga races to a 40-15 lead, but Federer makes him work hard to seal the game, as the pair get in to a lengthy rally, with shots coming from all areas of the court. They're both having to work so hard for every point. From the spectator's perspective, it's brilliant. I imagine Andy Murray is quite enjoying seeing them both having to work so hard too.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 *4-2 FedererBREAK! Federer's first serve let him down in the last game. He struggled to get his first serve in, allowing Tsonga to come back from 40-15 down to deuce. Some quick footwork behind the baseline helps Tsonga bring up a break point, which he's gifted when Federer fires his forehand long.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 4-3* FedererBREAK! A couple of mis-hits from Tsonga held Federer to a 30-0 lead, but the Frenchman responds with an ace down the centre of the court. A double fault then gives Federer two break points. He saves the first with a mighty serve, which the second seed can do nothing with, before gliding his backhand in to the net. That was probably Tsonga's worst service game since the opening game of the match.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 *5-3 FedererBREAK! Tsonga regains his composure straight away, earning another break point by firing a cross-court forehand past Federer, who was rooted to the spot. A backhand took Federer out wide, allowing the Frenchman to come in to the net and volley to take the game. He;s now serving for the set.
11.39amAlmost three hours in to this match and there is nothing between the two players. Federer starting the game aggressively, and looked to gain a break point by looping a forehand to Tsonga and closing in on the net to volley, but Frenchman saw the move coming, and beat him with a brilliant cross-court backhand. The fifth seed showed phenomenal footwork to bring up the set point, and leveled the match emphatically with an ace.
11.40amThere's been some outstanding tennis throughout this match from both men, let's hope they keep it up during the fifth and final set. With neither player having been able to dominate a set so far, this could be a lengthy one.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 6-3 1-1* FedererTsonga looks to win a point by rushing in to the net for a volley, but his effort is too low, and it drops on his side of the court. An ace with the next two points gets him back on top, but then he over-hit his backhand to bring up deuce. Another pair of aces help Tsonga clinch the game.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 6-3 1-3* FedererBREAK! A couple of loose backhands from Tsonga allows Federer to take a 30-0 lead. His backhand goes long again to give Federer two break points, and it's his backhand that lets him down for a fourth time in this game, as it gets caught in the net, and puts Federer in control of the set.
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 6-3 2-4* FedererTsonga charges in to the net with such speed that he ends up on Federer's side of the court. The Swiss players brings up two break points. He misses out on the first with a wide forehand to an open court. Tsonga forces deuce with a brilliant forehand, wrong-footing Federer in the process. He beats Federer in a short rally, before Federer catches the net on the next point. Tsonga must have cashed in a get of jail free card there, at two breaks down he would surely have been out of the match.
12.07pmFederer has two match points against the Tsonga serve.
12.08pmTsonga saves them both and takes the game to deuce.
12.08pmA long lob from Tsonga gives Federer another match point.
12.09pmTsonga scoops up a drop shot and somehow forces it over the net to keep himself in the match. Brilliant resistance from the Frenchman
12.12pmBoth players seem to have saved their best tennis for this game, neither is willing to let the other one take it. Federer has had three match points, and Tsonga has had advantage twice. Federer has just got another match point, can he convert this time?
Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 6-3 3-5* FedererNo he can't. Tsonga misses his first serve, but Federer's back hand is fractionally to low, and gets caught on the net. Tsonga follows with his 20th ace of the match, followed by another big serve to take an epic game. Federer will now serve for the match.
12.17pmA wide forehand from Tsonga gives Federer another match point.
12.18pmGAME, SET AND MATCH! Tsonga 6-7 6-4 6-7 6-3 3-6 Federer
12.19pmThat was a phenomenal match, both players would have been worthy of a place in the last four, but it's the four-time Australian Open champion who progresses to face Andy Murray.
12.20pmTsonga played brilliantly in the last game as he tried to get the break back, but Federer just edged it.
12.22pmSpeaking on court after the match, Federer said: "The whole match was tough, any set could have gone either way. I feel a bit lucky to come through but I played some great tennis and it was a pleasure to play against Jo tonight."
12.24pmWhen asked about his upcoming match against Murray after such a tough match today, the 31-year-old jokes: "I'm gonna be fine, I'm young you know, I'll recover quick.
"I'm looking forward to the match, he's obviously extremely tough. He's a great guy and a great player"
12.28pmThat's all from the Australian Open today. Join us again from midnight for coverage of the ladies semi-finals, as Li Na takes on Maria Sharapova and reigning champion Victoria Azarenka faces the tournament's suprise package Sloane Stephens. The late match tomorrow will be the first of the men's semis, with Novak Djokovic going up against David Ferrer. Until then, thanks for joining us.