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Struggling Tsonga latest big-name casualty to crash out of Queen's

 

By Tom Allnutt

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the latest big name to crash out of Queen's yesterday, but Grigor Dimitrov and Tomas Berdych survived to scrape through to the quarter-finals.

Tsonga lost 6-4 6-4 to Gilles Muller at the Aegon Championships and followed Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka in failing to last the tournament's opening three days.

It means of the top five seeds only No.4 Marin Cilic is left standing, while sixth seed Dimitrov progressed by coming from behind to beat Julien Benneteau 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Berdych, the seventh seed, also needed three sets to overcome 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (4/7) 7-5.

Dimitrov made the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2014 and the Bulgarian is showing signs he could make a similar run again at the All England Club next month.

With the likes of Murray and Novak Djokovic struggling for form, the way could be open for an outsider to break through, but Dimitrov is refusing to get carried away.

"It is what it is guys. Let's face it, everybody is playing good nowadays," Dimitrov said.

"I don't think we should be that hard on the situation. I believe all these players that are out right now, they will be extra motivated when Wimbledon comes around.

"They are going to have extra days to be on the court, extra days to rehab or to work on certain things, on their tools."

Tsonga is another player low on rhythm, his surprise defeat to Muller coming on the back of his first-round loss at the French Open last month.

The Frenchman struggled to cope with his opponent's demon serve but he remains confident he can find his groove at Wimbledon.

"It doesn't affect anything for me," Tsonga said.

"I'm used to being in this kind of position. I won only 15 tournaments in my career and I played maybe 200, maybe more, I don't know.

"So most of the time I'm going home with a loss. I'm just used to it and tomorrow I will continue to practice to be better and better."

Meanwhile, former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka saved three match points before winning on her comeback from a year out after the birth of her son.

The two-time Australian Open champion, who gave birth to Leo in December, won 6-3 4-6 7-6 (9-7) against Japan's Risa Ozaki at the Mallorca Open.

It was the 27-year-old Belarusian's first match since losing at the French Open in June 2016.

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