It was a tight opening first few games in the first set, with both competitors holding their serves well and committing strong shots across the clay court.
Despite both players starting positively, it was Wawrinka, who knocked out Andy Murray in the third round, who nabbed a vital break of serve to push on and take a one-set lead in Monte Carlo.
Tsonga needed to launch a fightback in the second set and he did just that by taking 37 minutes to snatch a break and take control of the court.
The Frenchman was able to keep his composure with powerful forehands and swift returns to force the match into a third and deciding set.
Both competitors controlled their service games, but it took a break from Tsonga to move the game into his favour and take the third set for a place in the final four.