Tearful Bouchard, dizzy Tsonga exit in Beijing


Eugenie Bouchard retired in tears and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga suffered dizzy spells before crashing to his worst defeat of the year in an incident-packed China Open first round on Monday.

Bouchard has not played since she was concussed in a locker-room fall at the US Open, and she lasted just 10 games against Andrea Petkovic before having her blood pressure checked and exiting in Beijing.

The Canadian sobbed into her towel and was comforted by Petkovic before she rose and walked out, waving grimly to the crowd, with the scoreline standing 6-2, 1-1 to her opponent.

Earlier Tsonga refused to blame Beijing’s notorious air pollution as he was hit by dizzy spells before falling at the first hurdle 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to little-known Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer.

Tsonga was down in the second set when he staggered on court and took a time-out, in which he had his heartbeat checked with a stethoscope and was given medication.

It was not long before the out-of-sorts Tsonga limply succumbed to Haider-Maurer, who at world number 64 becomes the lowest ranked player to beat the Frenchman this season.

The Chinese capital’s air pollution was in the “very unhealthy” range on Monday but eighth seed Tsonga said he did not know if that was what caused his problem.

“I don’t know. You know, nothing in me can calculate if it’s enough oxygen for me or not. I just play tennis. Today I had an opponent, he was just better than me today,” he shrugged.

Tsonga added: “I was like, dizzy. It came just like this, on one run. After one run, I went back to play a return and I feel a little bit dizzy. But I hope it’s nothing important.”

The departures of Tsonga and Bouchard come after women’s top seeds Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova, troubled by injury and illness, both exited on Sunday.

The tail-end of the season has seen a series of retirements and withdrawals, including Serena Williams’ decision to rest until next year. Maria Sharapova is also sidelined from Beijing with injury.

World number one Novak Djokovic, unbeaten in five appearances, heads the men’s draw while third seed Flavia Pennetta, the US Open champion, is now the on-paper favourite for the women’s title.