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Tsonga, Cilic, Isner pull out on strange day at Wimbledon

No less than five men pulled out of the Wimbledon draw Wednesday, including sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 10th- seeded Croat Marin Cilic and 18th-seeded American John Isner.

The former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga, who reached the semifinals here each of the last two years, was trailing capable Latvian Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 when he quit because of an apparent knee injury on an injury-filled Day 3.

Meanwhile, the recent Queen's Club grass-court runner-up Cilic was scheduled to meet Frenchman Kenny De Schepper, but decided against playing due to a left knee injury, while the 6-foot-10 Isner was battling Frenchman Adrian Mannarino when he retired at 1-1 in the first set, also citing a left knee injury.

Isner hurt his knee early in his match against Mannarino, took an injury timeout and called it quits after two games.

The towering American, of course, is best known at the All England Club for playing the longest match in tennis history three years ago with a five-set marathon in the first round against Nicolas Mahut. The 11-hour, 5-minute epic took three days to complete because of rain and darkness, ending with a 70-68 score in the final set.

Fifteenth-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro managed to avoid the carnage, holding off Frenchman Guillaume Rufin 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-4.

Also pulling out were giant-killer Steve Darcis and Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.

Darcis posted one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history on Monday when he shocked two-time Wimbledon champion and reigning French Open titlist Rafael Nadal in straight sets. But he was unable to meet Poland's Lukasz Kubot because of a right shoulder injury on Wednesday.

"Had to withdrawn after a win like this!?THE most difficult thing i had to do!!!#triedeverythingtoplaybutdidntwork!!!!" Darcis wrote on his Twitter account.

Stepanek was losing to 6-foot-8, 24th-seeded Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-2, 5-3 when he retired from their match due to a thigh injury.

Veteran 20th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny overcame promising Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-4; rising 25th-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire subdued fellow countryman Stephane Robert 6-4, 7-5, 6-4; Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco erased 31st-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Serb Viktor Troicki topped Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; and German Dustin Brown doused 2002 Wimbledon champ and former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2.