Fri, Sep 30, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Injured Sharapova forced to exit the Pan Pacific Open

AFP, TOKYO

World No. 2 Maria Sharapova of Russia falls to the court with an injured left ankle after she tried to return a shot against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

PHOTO: EPA

Maria Sharapova’s effort to avenge her Wimbledon final loss to Petra Kvitova was brought to an abrupt end yesterday after she twisted an ankle in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open.

The Russian world No. 2 was serving 40-15 up at 3-4 in an even first set when the injury struck.

Sharapova received court-side treatment, but decided to retire soon afterwards, giving the Czech a free ticket to the semi-finals.

“I hit a serve and then landed awkwardly on my left ankle. I felt a sharp pain and next thing I knew I was on the floor. It swelled up immediately and I knew there was no way I could continue,” Sharapova said in a statement. “I am incredibly disappointed and in a lot of pain. I obviously really wanted to win and felt that I was playing well.”

“There’s not much more I can say right now. I’m sorry for the tournament and my Japanese fans that the match had to end this way,” the two-time Pan Pacific champion said.

Kvitova, who claimed her first Grand Slam title by beating Sharapova in June’s Wimbledon final, described her withdrawal as “sad.”

“Because we played very nice tennis, I think, and it was a great match. I’m very sorry about her, because the ankle swollen was too big straight away. Hopefully, nothing it’s bad and she will be back early,” she said.

In the semi-finals, Kvitova will play Vera Zvonareva after the Russian beat compatriot Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day.

“It always feels great to be in a semi-final. I’m excited about it. It is always nice to go a little bit further than the previous year. I’m looking forward to my semi-final match,” Zvonareva said.

Zvonareva, who broke Kirilenko three times, stretched her winning streak against her rival to six.

Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus produced a storming finish in taking the last nine games to beat Marion Bartoli of France 7-5, 6-0 for a place in the other semi-final.

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland earned a place against Azarenka when she outclassed Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).

In doubles tennis, Taiwan’s Chan Yun-jan and partner Julia Georges of Germany were outclassed by Liezel Huber of the US and compatriot Lisa Raymond 6-3, 6-2.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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