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Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-22

Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's injury-blighted 2010 caught up with him Saturday when he was bounced out of the Australian Open by Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov even as the last Frenchwoman, Alizé Cornet, fell to Belgium's Kim Clijsters.

AFP - France's giant contingent crashed to its worst performance in 19 years at the Australian Open Saturday when last players standing Alize Cornet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both failed to make the last 16.

Cornet fell to women's favourite Kim Clijsters and Tsonga, the 2008 men's finalist, lost out to Alexandr Dolgopolov as an expected strong French challenge fizzled.

France had the biggest number of men's players with 14, plus another seven women, making it one of the Grand Slam tournament's best-represented countries.

"Every day I try to get back on top. I was injured for many months," said Tsonga, who faded after an injury-hit 2010. "It's okay when you play your best level every time and you are consistent. But not like this."

World number 34 Gilles Simon, another former top-10 player who is returning from injury, pushed defending champion Roger Federer to the brink in a five-set tussle late on Wednesday.

"There are not too many players who can play longer than me, but Roger is one of them," Simon said.

Richard Gasquet fell to Tomas Berdych and an out-of-sorts Gael Monfils went down to Stanislas Wawrinka, also in the third round.

Marion Bartoli and Virginie Razzano made it to the second round along with 17-year-old hope Caroline Garcia.

France has had a player in every Australian Open last 16 since 1992, when Alexia Dechaume lost in the third round.


Date created : 2011-01-22