Flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has pulled out of the Hopman Cup with a groin injury.
The world No.8 was forced from the court early in the second set of the deciding mixed doubles rubber against South Africa, Tsonga and partner Mathilde Johansson were ahead 2-1 after they lost the first set 6-3.
It gifted South Africans Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers a 2-1 win in the tie, their first of the week.
Tsonga is the third player to pull out of Perth’s $1 million ITF mixed teams event, following knee injuries to German Andrea Petkovic and USA’s John Isner.
Earlier Tsonga, now coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, had beaten South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in two tiebreak sets to level the tie at Perth Arena.
It was during that match that Tsonga first experienced soreness in the groin.
There were no breaks of serve in the keenly-contested contest which Tsonga claimed 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3).
It continued Tsonga’s unbeaten record in singles matches on debut at Perth’s $1 million ITF mixed teams event.
Tsonga had previously beaten Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-3 and USA’s John Isner 6-3 6-2 to show he was on track to go deep into the Australian Open starting at Melbourne Park on January 14.
Chanelle Scheepers gave South Africa the perfect start to the tie with a gruelling 4-6 6-4 6-4 win against Mathilde Johansson.
World No.60 Scheepers claimed what was a battle of fluctuating fortunes against No.86 Johansson in 170 minutes to put her country 1-0 ahead.
Scheepers and Johansson exchanged service breaks throughout the match before the 28-year-old South African emerged triumphant.It was the first singles win by either player, Scheepers and Johansson both having lost to USA’s Venus Williams and Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues earlier in the tournament.
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