Australian Open: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga senses opportunity after Murray's exit

Australian Open: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga senses opportunity after Murray's exit

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says Andy Murray's shock departure from the tournament has created an opening for the remainder of the field.

CraigVickers
Craig Vickers

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga believes Andy Murray’s exit from the Australian Open creates a window of opportunity for several others remaining to claim their maiden Grand Slam crown.

Murray crashed out in stunning fashion, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, to world number 50 Mischa Zverev on Sunday afternoon and it marked the first time both the world number one and two have exited a major before the quarter-final stage since Roland Garros in 2004.

Novak Djokovic was sent packing from Melbourne by the wildcard Denis Istomin in the second round and Tsonga, who meets 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-final, senses a real opportunity.

Seize the opportunity

Tsonga dispatched Murray’s Davis Cup teammate, Dan Evans, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, to book a date with the Swiss number one and joked that Murray’s departure would aid his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title.

“For sure, I don’t want to play Andy because I have a bad record against him,” chuckled the Frenchman as he welcomes a rest day on Monday before his showdown with Wawrinka.

“But anyway, I have an opponent after tomorrow and if I win I’d have another one all the way to the final if I make it.”

Tsonga leaps for joy during his fourth round encounter with Evans (Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images Asia Pac)

Ready for the challenge

The Swiss holds a positive 4-3 head-to-head record over Tsonga but the pair have only faced each other once on the hard courts, with the Frenchman prevailing in straight sets at Metz in 2007.

Their last encounter came during the French Open in 2015 where the world number four progressed in four sets to book his place in the final.  

He [Wawrinka] is playing really good, so it’s going to be important that I play my best level and be ready for the challenge,” he added when quizzed about Wawrinka’s current form.

The 31-year-old suffered heartbreak in 2008 when he reached the final in Australia only to lose in four tightly-contested sets to Djokovic.

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