Sabine Lisicki’s Australian Open preparations suffered a setback yesterday when she was forced to pull out of her quarter-final match in the Auckland Classic with an abdominal injury.
The world No. 15 was trailing fellow German Angelique Kerber 4-6, 3-4 when she walked from the court, leaving the unseeded Kerber to play Italian Flavia Pennetta in the semi-final.
Lisicki, who had not looked comfortable in the opening rounds, sought medical treatment when down 1-2 in the second set and although she returned to the court for another four games, she never played with any fluidity.
Fourth seed Pennetta was untroubled by Russian Elena Vesnina, racing to a 6-1, 6-2 victory in just over an hour.
Pennetta has been one of the sharpest players through the week and said she felt she was coming into form.
“I think the day was perfect for me,” she said after dominating right from the start, when she broke Vesnina in the first game.
“I didn’t make a lot of mistakes, my serve was really good, so I’m proud of this match. She is a good player, but I think I played really well,” she said.
In the second semi-final, two-time Grand Slam champion and tournament third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will play Zheng Jie of China.
Former world No. 2 Kuznetsova fired down eight aces as she dispatched Sara Errani of Italy 6-4, 6-3.
In the fourth quarter-final, a match between two unseeded players, Zheng pulled off a 6-2, 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, who had eliminated second seed Peng Shuai of China earlier in the tournament.