Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Mauresmo retires injured from semi-final


Amelie Mauresmo of France returns a ball shortly before pulling out of her semi-final match against compatriot Marion Bartoli at the Brisbane International tournament in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.


Former No. 1-ranked Amelie Mauresmo hopes to be fit for the Australian Open despite withdrawing from her Brisbane International semi-final with a thigh injury yesterday, putting fellow Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli into the final.

Fifth-seeded Mauresmo, who beat top-seeded Ana Ivanovic in straight sets in an upset result the previous evening, was trailing 4-0 in the opening set when she called for a trainer at the sixth deuce of her third service game.

Mauresmo received treatment to her left thigh and lower back and retired without playing another point.

“It happened in the second game,” Mauresmo said. “It wasn’t such a big pain so I kept going but I couldn’t really push off the serve and move the way I wanted.”

“Even though it’s frustrating and it’s not how you want to end a tournament, I guess it’s more reasonable to make sure I’m 100 percent for Melbourne [the Australian Open],” she said.

Mauresmo was a doubtful starter for the Sydney International next week, her last scheduled tuneup event for the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 19.

The 29-year-old Mauresmo, the 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, has had a string of injuries over the past two years which has seen her ranking slip to No. 24.

Mauresmo said she’d had a similar thigh problem only six months before.

“I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid these kinds of moments. I just hope it’s not too bad and I can be good for Melbourne,” said Mauresmo, who planned to have an MRI scan today to determine the full extent of the problem before deciding whether to play in the Open.

“At worst I’d hope that nine days ... would be enough to make it feel much better,” she said.

Bartoli, a surprise Wimbledon finalist in 2007 and seeded third here, will play second-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in today’s final. Azarenka beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-1 in the other semi-final yesterday.

In quarter-final men’s play at the joint ATP-WTA tournament, Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic beat Swede Robin Soderling 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 and Richard Gasquet defeated No. 2 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Soderling plays Stepanek in one semi-final today, while Fernando Verdasco of Spain takes on Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the other.

The 23-year-old Tsonga, losing Australian Open finalist last year, double-faulted to give Gasquet the second set, and then repeated the effort in the fourth game of the third set.

Gasquet broke again in the eighth game to seal the match for his third victory over his friend and training partner in five career matches.

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