After the premature exit of Andy Murray on Wednesday, the Aegon Championships lost its remaining draw card when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the runner-up to the Scot last year, went out in round three to the unheralded Croat Ivan Dodig. Having already lost Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt and with no Rafael Nadal to keep the fans amused, the tournament organisers are not having much luck.
Tsonga's disappointment at losing 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 to world No69 Dodig in the third round was compounded by a nasty injury to the little finger on his right hand, which could endanger his presence at Wimbledon. "I think it's serious," the Frenchman said. "I will do an exam. You never know before but I felt like I broke something or I stretched a lot of ligaments, I would say. For the moment, I don't know what it is, so I will stay positive and I will see."
Should he be ruled out of Wimbledon, it would be a huge blow to Tsonga, who beat Roger Federer on his way to the semi-finals last year. Outside of the top four, he is the man considered the most dangerous on grass and he had four match-point chances to beat the world No1 Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the French Open. Talk about an incredibly unlucky break.
Murray returned to Queen's on Thursday to cram in a bit of extra practice, around the same time as the man who beat him, Nicolas Mahut, was going down 7-6, 6-4 in the third round to an inspired Grigor Dimitrov. Ever since he won the junior title at Wimbledon in 2008, the tennis world has been waiting for the Bulgarian to come through and on this evidence the world No 72 may be ready sooner rather than later.
With his smooth serve and easy-on-the-eye single-handed backhand, it is obvious to see why the 21-year-old was once called "Baby Federer". Dimitrov was given a wildcard here in 2009 and promised the tournament director Chris Kermode that he would keep coming back until he wins the title. He plays South African Kevin Anderson on Friday and after so many false dawns, he is trying to stay grounded. "Of course I'm happy to win these matches and to go on and, why not, win the tournament, of course," he said. "But I don't see it as a short-time thing. I just like to see what's going to happen the week after. You know, you never know. I might win the tournament, and next week I go and I lose first round or something like this."
The British No3 Heather Watson will earn a direct entry into Wimbledon after Kaia Kanepi, an Estonian, on Thursday pulled out with a foot injury.
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