Tsonga won the first set 6-3 at Wimbleon, and Raonic took the second by the same score, setting up a deciding set in which both players repeatedly held serve until Tsonga finally broke the Thornhill, Ont., native on the 257th point of the set.
The official match time was three hours 57 minutes. The third set alone lasted an even three hours. The 66 games played were the most ever in a three-set Olympic match and the 48-game third set also set a record. It wasn't clear whether any time records were broken since match lengths weren't recorded in early Olympic competition.
"I felt like I played really well for most of the match and I just let it slip away from me at the end," Raonic said.
The players shook hands and hugged at the net afterwards before Tsonga celebrated by dancing around the court and pulling at his shirt collar with joy.
The players were on serve early in the third set when a rain delay halted play for almost three hours.
Wozniak falls to Venus
Earlier, Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., failed to reach the third round in women's singles, losing 6-1, 6-3 to Venus Williams of the United States.
"We had some really fast, powerful exchanges but she was on top of her game," said Wozniak, Canada's lone entry in the competition. "I think grass really suits her."
Williams has won five of her seven major titles at the All England Club, most recently in 2008. Her opponent Wednesday will be No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Timea Babos of Hungary 6-1, 6-1.
Williams won the Olympic gold medal in singles in 2000 and two gold in doubles with sister Serena Williams in 2000 and 2008.
Venus won her most recent tournament title 2½ years ago, and she took a long layoff after being diagnosed in 2011 with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue. But at 32, she seems rejuvenated by the chance at a record fourth gold medal in Olympic tennis.
"Every day I'm just concentrating on trying to bring my best tennis out," Williams said. "And honestly, if there's a time to do it, it's now."
Djokovic drubs Roddick in 2nd round
Andy Roddick was outclassed by Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Olympics at Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-1.
"I hit the ball fine," Roddick said. "He was just too good from the baseline. He was seeing it like a basketball."
Djokovic also praised his performance.
"It was a perfect match in every sense," the Serb said.
Even so, the drubbing was a dismal result for Roddick, whose declining fortunes in recent months have left him fending off questions about retirement.
Playing under the Centre Court roof, Djokovic closed out the victory with consecutive aces. Roddick then quickly left the court where he lost three Wimbledon finals, and was noncommittal about the possibility he won't be back.
"It's not close to my mind right now," he said. "That's not something that I'm going to talk about."
Maria Sharapova hit 10 aces under the roof and beat Laura Robson of Britain 7-6 (5), 6-3. Sharapova, seeded No. 3, will next play No. 15 Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
British hopeful Andy Murray, seeded third, advanced by beating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 6-4. Nieminen won cheers for his scrappy play, including a tumble into the first row in pursuit of a shot.
Also scrappy but more successful was three-time Olympian Lleyton Hewitt, the Wimbledon champion 10 years ago. He beat No. 13 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 7-5.