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Gasguet injury hands Murray quarter-final spot Djokovic and Wawrinka fall in Toronto

TORONTO, Canada, Aug 7, (Agencies): World number one Novak Djokovic slumped to a lacklustre 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Toronto Masters third round on Thursday and was joined at the exit door by third-seeded doubles partner Stan Wawrinka. Newly-married Djokovic, who needed almost three hours to get past Gael Monfils in his opening tie this week, looked under-prepared against Tsonga, the powerful French 13th seed. Wimbledon champion Djokovic finished with 18 unforced errors and dropped serve four times. Tsonga saved a break point in the final game of the 63-minute rout, with the heavy hitter pounding over a serve which Djokovic could not handle on match point. Djokovic came to Canada having won five of the last six Masters events he had contested. Thursday’s loss was only his fifth of the season against 38 wins.

“I didn’t play even close to what I intended before going to the court, just nothing was going — no baseline, no serve, no return,” said Djokovic. “It was just generally very bad day, very poor performance. I couldn’t do much. “Obviously I feel disappointment, and I’m trying to understand what I did wrong. Confidence is the hardest thing to get but easiest thing to lose. Matches like this can really play with your mind. “But in the end of the day, it’s not the first match and last match that I lost in my career. “I didn’t feel exhausted or something like that, but even in the first match (against Monfils) I was not feeling very comfortable on the court. I wasn’t hitting the ball clean and a lot of unforced errors.

“It’s maybe a lack of matches on this surface, it’s going to be better, I’m sure. This has to be the worst. I’m going to practise the next few days and try to get as many hours as I can playing points as well on the practice courts and get ready for Cincinnati (next week’s Masters tournament).” The victory marked the third time that Tsonga had beaten a world number one after putting out Rafael Nadal at Queen’s three years ago and defeating Roger Federer in Canada in 2009. Tsonga also fired eight aces in victory and next plays Andy Murray who made the quarter-finals without hitting a ball when scheduled opponent Richard Gasquet, the French 12th seed, withdrew with an abdominal strain. “For me today it was great, I played a good match,” said Tsonga.
“I was in good condition from the start, I served pretty well. I was pretty aggressive, it’s something positive for me. “When you play against Novak you know it’s going to be difficult. Even if the score today seemed easy, it’s never easy against him.” South Africa’s Kevin Anderson beat Australian Open champion Wawrinka 7-6 (10/8), 7-5. “It was an okay match, for sure, but it’s tough to lose that one,” said Wawrinka, who will now head for the Cincinnati Masters next week, his final tune-up for the US Open which gets under way on Aug 25. “In general he served really well. It was tough to return, a little bit windy. “But I had some chances, especially in the first set. I had set point and two, three times Love-30. It was more about choosing the right shot to play. I made some mistakes that I shouldn’t have.” Earlier, It was last call at Canada’s biggest tennis party on Wednesday until Milos Raonic delivered a nail-biting 4-6 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) second round win over American Jack Sock to keep home hopes alive at the Rogers Cup.
After two party-pooping days in Toronto and Montreal, where a WTA Tour event is being staged simultaneously, Raonic is the last Canadian standing in the two tournaments that had been hyped as a turning point for the sport in the Great White North. With Raonic the toast of Toronto — sitting at a career high number six in the world rankings riding the momentum from a tournament win in Washington on Sunday — and Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, hailed as the new face of women’s tennis and the belle of the ball in her native Montreal, the week was supposed to be a national tennis celebration. But the celebration quickly turned into a funeral march with eight of the nine Canadians entered already shown the exit before Raonic had stepped onto centre court for his first match.
With Tennis Canada officials, sponsors, television executives and fans still reeling from Bouchard’s shock 6-0 2-6 6-0 opening loss to American qualifier Shelby Rogers on Tuesday, a new wave of panic swept through the stadiums on Wednesday when Sock easily claimed the opening set from an unsteady Raonic.
The big-hitting Canadian, however, would not disappoint and displayed the steel, grit and heart Bouchard lacked to survive two nervy tie-breaks and leave tournament officials and fans happy. “Today had nothing to do with that (pressure),” said Raonic. “Today was just first match of a new tournament and it’s never going to be pretty. “You’ve just got to go and fight through and I was able to do so.” The two Rogers Cups had been heavily promoted in both Montreal and Toronto and on national television commercials aired across the entire country.
In both cities, the faces of Raonic and Bouchard smiled out from magazines, newspapers and televisions while the buildup to the two tournaments had national news outlets chronicling the extraordinary rise of the sport in the hockey-crazed country. But the disappointing results offered a sobering reminder that expectations run high whether you are wielding a tennis racquet or a hockey stick. “I just want her to sort of forget it as quickly as possible,” Raonic said of Bouchard’s shock defeat. “Grand scheme of things, whatever may happen, obviously you want to play well but people, she will realise people are not going to remember Montreal. “They’re going to remember at the end of this year Wimbledon, Paris, and Melbourne. Not Montreal.” 

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