London (AP) — Another star attraction was eliminated from the Queen’s grass-court tournament when fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday in the second round.
With Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic — the top three seeded players — exiting in first-round play on Tuesday, the leading warmup event for Wimbledon looks wide open.
Muller, who won the Ricoh Open on grass in the Netherlands last week, won 86 percent of points on his big first serve and saved all three break points against an overpowered Tsonga.
“Sometimes you cannot do anything because the guy in front of you is playing well and he’s doing the right things to make you play in a bad way,” said Tsonga, who was the runner-up at Queen’s in 2011. “That’s it.”
Sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov avoided becoming another high-profile departure when he bounced back from committing three double-faults in the opening game and losing the first set to beat Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Marin Cilic, who plays Stefan Kozlov on Thursday, is the only player left in the tournament that is seeded higher than Dimitrov, the 2014 champion at Queen’s.
Not that the Bulgarian is taking any notice.
“I don’t look at those things,” Dimitrov said, “not when you look at all the players who are lower ranked but can beat anyone, as we saw yesterday. You just need to stay in your own bubble.”
Three double-faults cost Dimitrov the opening game but his serve improved, as he sent down 15 aces on Centre Court. He also saved five of six break points to move into the quarterfinals, where he will play either Daniil Medvedev or Thanasi Kokkinakis, the winner against Raonic.
Seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych also avoided an upset, breaking serve for the first time in the final game of the match in beating 18-year-old Canadian left-hander Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5.
“This young kid is the future,” Berdych said of Shapovalov, whose whipped forehand and kicking serve out wide were entertaining features of his game.
Also Wednesday, American player Donald Young beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4.