Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Clijsters to miss US Open title defense

HEARTBREAK A scan confirmed the No. 2 player suffered a `serious injury' when she took a heavy fall on Wednesday, most likely sidelining her for the next two months

DPA , NEW YORK

Martina Hingis of Switzerland returns a shot to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in Montreal, Canada, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

Defending champion Kim Clijsters looks set for tennis heartbreak as she prepares to miss her US Open title defense with a wrist injury.

The bad luck struck the world No. 2 Belgian as she took a heavy fall on Wednesday during a match in Montreal, quitting to hand over victory to her Canadian opponent.

"Kim is completely disillusioned," read a statement on her Web site. "She will definitely not play any tennis next week and will most likely be out of action for the following two months."

Clijsters, who underwent wrist surgery several seasons ago, missed months of play with the problem.

The 23-year-old has said that next year would almost certainly be her final season due to wear and tear on her body.

The Web site said that a scan on Thursday confirmed a "serious injury."

Meanwhile, Mark Philippoussis and Alicia Molik have been recommended for US Open wildcards by Tennis Australia under a reciprocal arrangement with US officials.

The 29-year-old Philippoussis is fighting to get fit after injuring a toe last week at a Challenger event, a month after springing to life with a title on grass at Newport.

Philippoussis endured a slump lasting almost three years, with his ranking dropping on the far side of 200. He currently stands 112, just beyond the cutoff for an automatic place in the main draw.

Philippoussis reached the final in New York in 1998, when he was beaten by compatriot Patrick Rafter.

Molik is struggling back after an inner-ear infection, which kept her off court for months over the last two years.

The Australian won a round at Wimbledon but has gone out over the summer in the first rounds in Stockholm and Montreal.

American officials also said they would provide a free entry to former winner Serena Williams, whose inactivity this year plunged her ranking outside the top 100.

She recovered last week with a semi-final appearance in Los Angeles, though that result came too late to help her into the Grand Slam.

Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion, was awaiting results of a second opinion on a knee injury, which has forced him from the courts.

Hewitt hurt the knee at the Washington event this summer, then had to quit a match in Toronto and withdrew from this week's tournament in Cincinnati.

The Open begins on Aug. 28, with Andre Agassi set to make his farewell appearance to the game.

Andy Murray followed up his landmark victory over Roger Federer by beating Robby Ginepri in a three-set thriller that put the Scot in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

A weary Murray managed to break the aching American in the closing moments to complete a 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4 victory in just over two hours.

The triumph came a day after the biggest win of the 19-year-old's career, a second-round upset of world No. 1 Federer.

It looked briefly as if Murray wouldn't be able to build on that achievement, as faded to lose the second set and went down a break in the third against Ginepri.

But Murray found strength to fight on, and secured the match as he broke the flagging Ginepri in the final game.

Both men could barely stand at the conclusion.

"When you're tired and you know there are only two or three games to go, you just fight for it," said Murray, who has played 13 matches over 16 days.

"That keeps you going. I was struggling at the end, but I had to keep believing. I was able to break him -- not because of my good play but because of his errors," he said.

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