Melbourne:Britain's great tennis hope Andy Murray became the first major casualty of the Australian Open on Monday, crashing out in the first round to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The ninth seed fell to the athletic Tsonga 7-5 6-4 0-6 7-6 (7/5) in three hours and 14 minutes of cut and thrust tennis on centre court.
Tsonga, ranked 38, loomed as a dangerous first-up opponent to Murray after he upset Lleyton Hewitt in the quarterfinals of this month's Australian Hardcourt championships in Adelaide.
Murray had beaten Tsonga in their only previous meeting in two sets at Metz last year, but he found the Frenchman in his best form running around the court, retrieving and hitting outright winners.
Tsonga jumped out to a two-set lead to put the 20-year-old Scot under immediate pressure, but Murray clawed back the third set without dropping a game and the tide looked to be turning.
But Tsonga saved his energy for another concerted effort in the fourth set which went to a tie-breaker.
Both players shared mini-breaks but a crucial double-fault by Murray gave Tsonga the edge at 5-4, and although Murray pulled it back, a Tsonga ace set up match point.
Murray's Australian campaign was over when his forehand was wide giving Tsonga the match.
Tsonga's flashiness was evident in the statistics, with 57 winners to Murray's 38, but making 61 unforced errors to 27, as he went constantly for his shots along with six double faults.