Sat, Jun 16, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Tsonga exits Queen’s Club with injury

DEVASTATING:World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga seemed to have a good opportunity to go all the way after the top seeds were all eliminated, but now could miss Wimbledon

AFP, LONDON

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun led 6-3, 1-2 against third seed Janko Tipsarevic at the Queen’s Club tournament on Thursday when play was abandoned because of rain.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered a miserable third-round exit from the tournament, as the world No. 5 was beaten 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) by Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and suffered a serious finger injury in the process.

With top seed Andy Murray, fourth seed Gilles Simon, four-time Queen’s champions Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt already eliminated from the grass-court event, it seemed Tsonga had a golden opportunity to go all the way.

However, the Frenchman, seeded second, produced a lethargic display and world No. 69 Dodig took full advantage to claim one of the best wins of his career.

Tsonga reached the final last year, losing to Murray, and became the first player ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down at a Grand Slam in the Wimbledon quarter-finals a few weeks later.

With that kind of pedigree on grass, Tsonga was the clear favorite. However, he was outplayed by Dodig and to make matters worse, he slipped and fell on his right hand in the final set, causing damage that could rule him out of Wimbledon.

“I think it’s serious. I didn’t do an exam for the moment, but it sounds very bad,” Tsonga said. “Of course it’s not a good day. It’s important to play many matches and to get ready for Wimbledon. It affects my confidence a bit.”

Tsonga must have hoped his experience would prove decisive when the first set went to a tiebreak.

Instead, the former Australian Open finalist produced an error-strewn effort that allowed Dodig to secure the lead.

Faced with the prospect of a surprise exit, Tsonga finally began to find his touch and he unfurled some sumptuous winners to break for a 4-3 lead in the second set.

One more break from Tsonga leveled the match at one set all, but Dodig dug deep in the decider and saved two break points at 2-3, before Tsonga was forced to save one himself with a flashing winner at 5-5.

Again it needed a tiebreak to seperate them and on match point Tsonga paid the price for a loose forehand that flew long and gifted the win to Dodig.

Dodig will face 2010 Queen’s winner Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals after the US player defeated Julien Benneteau 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Earlier, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson advanced to the last eight for the first time after defeating Spanish fifth seed Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (12/10), 7-6 (9/7).

Anderson, seeded ninth, had never been past the last 16 in his previous four visits, but he finally broke that sequence with an impressive victory over world No. 17 Lopez to set up a quarter-final clash with Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

Dimitrov ended Nicolas Mahut’s hopes of emulating his 2007 Queen’s final appearance with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory.

Play was abandoned for the day at 6:30pm because of heavy rain, with David Nalbandian’s match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin yet to start.

? HALLE OPEN

Reuters

French Open champion Rafael Nadal made a successful transition from clay to grass with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko on Thursday to join his great rival Roger Federer in the quarter-finals of the Halle Open.

Spaniard Nadal, playing at Halle for the first time since a first-round exit in 2005, needed a little time to settle before overcoming Lacko in 76 minutes to set up a meeting with champion Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated Lukasz Kubot 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-3.

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