TIRED TSONGA

JADED top-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was blasted off centre court in under an hour as his recent mammoth finally took its toll.

Tsonga, who is known as one of the most athletic men on tour, was competing in his fourth match in three days.

The Frenchman was on court for just 59 minutes as Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, breezed through 6-2, 6-3 in the second.

The result leaves the men’s half of the draw short on big names after Lleyton Hewitt was forced to withdraw injured on Monday and Britain’s James Ward bowed out to Serbian third seed Janko Tipsarevic after Tuesday final set shoot-out.

Tsonga, the former Australian Open runner-up, played in the rain-delayed final at the Queen’s Club, losing to Andy Murray.

After rushing down to the south coast he beat Denis Istomin in straight sets in the first round and also played a doubles match Tuesday.

Speaking after his exit, he said, “I’ve played a lot of matches,” said Tsonga.

“That was my goal for this preparation. Today I’m just tired, but I’m sure I will recover enough to play Wimbledon and to be ready.”

Tsonga is the world number 19 and will go to Wimbledon as the 12th seed after reaching the quarter finals there last year.

Meanwhile on Wednesday Italy’s Andreas Seppi, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, Russian Igor Kunitsyn and Frenchman Julien Benneteau all advanced to the next round.

Kunitsyn and Benneteau both won in three sets and will meet in one of Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Seppi out gunned teenage American Donald Young, 7-6, 6-3, and Dimitrov had an easy passage past sixth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-2.

Rain and poor light on Wednesday evening stopped play as Olivier Rochus of Belgium and Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq were in a third set. Play was due to resume on Thursday and the winner will meet Seppi in the quarterfinals.

Third-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, who first had to complete a first-round win over Britain’s James Ward on Wednesday, had just begun his second-round match against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin when the rains came. The winner will meet Dimitrov.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori and German qualifier Rainer Schuettler will also reconvene on Thursday where Tsonga’s conqueror Stepanek will take on the winner in the quarterfinals.

RAIN interruptions: Janko Tipsarevic