Former world No. 1 Serena Williams suffered an injury scare less than two weeks ahead of the Australian Open, after she was forced out of the Brisbane International yesterday with a badly twisted ankle.
There was also bad news for home favorite and top seed Samantha Stosur, who was bundled out early for the second successive year.
Williams twisted her left ankle late in her second-round match against Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski and needed about 10 minutes of treatment, including having her ankle restrapped, before she went on to secure a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The US player had scans on the ankle later yesterday, which confirmed that she would need to withdraw from the tournament.
She had been due to meet Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova in the quarter-finals, but the injury will now create some doubt as to whether the 30-year-old will be in top form as she attempts to win her sixth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park.
“I’m disappointed to have to pull out of the Brisbane International,” Williams said in a statement.
“I have been to hospital and it has been confirmed that I have a left ankle sprain that I probably shouldn’t play on,” she added.
“I’m going to take a couple of days off, not too many, and see how I feel. I’m still hopeful of playing the Australian Open,” she added.
The first Grand Slam tournament of the season starts on Jan. 16.
Stosur, who beat Williams in the US Open final last year to claim her maiden Grand Slam title, continued her poor run of form in her hometown losing 6-4, 6-2 to Czech Iveta Benesova.
It was the second successive year the world No. 6 has been the top seed at Brisbane and lost in the second round.
Last year, she lost to compatriot Jarmila Gajdosova.
“Hopefully it was just a bad day and I will bounce back next week and the week after,” Stosur said.
Benesova, who had never beaten Stosur in their previous four meetings, will now meet Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters in the quarter-finals.
In the men’s draw, second seed Gilles Simon had few problems dispatching Australia’s James Duckworth 6-3, 7-5 to move on to the quarter-finals.
The Frenchman joins Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in the last eight, after he advanced with a walkover following the withdrawal of Tommy Haas with a calf injury.
Men’s top seed Andy Murray in the late match beat Gilles Muller 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0.