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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 07:05 GMT
Murray crashes out of Aussie Open
Andy Murray
Murray could not get to grips with Tsonga's serve
British number one Andy Murray crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round, slumping to a 7-5 6-4 0-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Tsonga took control in the early stages and his solid serve and fierce forehand gave the ninth seed few opportunities.

The Frenchman, ranked 38th in the world, went two sets up before Murray hit back with a whitewash in the third.

A tense fourth set went to a tie-break before Tsonga, despite struggling with a thigh injury, came through to win.

Murray, who won the Qatar Open in the lead-up to the tournament, admitted he had under-performed but denied his defeat had anything to do with physical problems.

I'm obviously disappointed but it's not the worst I've felt after a defeat

Andy Murray

"I don't think it's anything to do with not getting to Australia early enough," he said.

"I had six, seven days of preparation. I trained in the hot conditions. It was nothing to do with the physical thing why I lost the match.

"The most important thing is to get his serve back because he's obviously got a very good serve but I didn't make enough returns at the start of the match to have a chance of really breaking him.

"I didn't put enough returns in court with enough depth to let his inconsistency be a problem at the start of the match and it was only at the end when I started to do that.

"I did all the right preparation, worked very hard on my game and I've improved a lot of my shots.

"I'm obviously disappointed that I didn't win the match. I would have wanted to win more than anything. I gave it my best effort out there. But it's not the worst I've felt after a defeat."

It was a massively disappointing display by the Scot, who had gone into the tournament with realistic hopes of claiming his first Grand Slam title.

606: DEBATE
Stuart

Tsonga, who ended Tim Henman's career when he beat him at the 2007 US Open, was always thought to be a dangerous opponent but it was Murray's failure to perform that ultimately proved to be his downfall.

From the start, Tsonga dominated rallies with his powerful groundstrokes - and Murray never got to grips with his serve either.

Murray was on the back foot but continued with his approach of trying to draw errors from his opponent, even when Tsonga seemed unable to miss.

Only in the third set, when Tsonga needed treatment for a thigh injury, did Murray seize the initiative but the fourth set was a far tighter affair.

Tsonga served for the match at 5-4 up only to produce his worst service game by some distance, allowing Murray to haul himself level.

Things got even more tense as the match went into a tie-break but, after some mesmerising tennis, Murray double-faulted to trail 5-4 and never recovered - a wild forehand flying out to give Tsonga a memorable victory in three hours and 14 minutes.

SEE ALSO
Aussie Open day one quotes
14 Jan 08 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day one photos
14 Jan 08 |  Tennis
Murray v Tsonga as it happened
14 Jan 08 |  Tennis
Australian Open order of play
12 Jan 08 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 08 |  Tennis
Australian Open draw
11 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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