Mon, Dec 30, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Lisicki cruises, despite heatwave

AFP and AP, BRISBANE, Australia

Sabine Lisicki of Germany serves during her opening match against Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia at the Brisbane International on Sunday in Australia.

Photo:EPA

Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki cruised into the second round of the Brisbane International with a straight-sets win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova yesterday.

Lisicki had no trouble with the Slovakian or the 42oC heat on Pat Rafter Arena, winning 6-3, 6-4 in 89 minutes.

The popular German inflicted one of only four defeats on Serena Williams this year when she shocked the world No. 1 in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

She went on to reach the final, where nerves appeared to get the better of her as she lost to France’s Marion Bartoli.

Lisicki was never in any trouble against Rybarikova and now meets Swiss player Stefanie Voegele in the second round.

Voegele progressed when she beat the US’ Madison Keys 6-4, 6-3.

Lisicki’s German countrywoman Andrea Petkovic set up a second-round clash against defending champion Williams when she downed the US’ Bethanie Mattek-Sands in two tough sets 6-4, 7-5.

Japan’s evergreen 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm defeated Australian wildcard Olivia Rogowska 6-3, 7-5, while Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina beat Varvara Lepchenko of the US 6-3, 6-3.

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki yesterday withdrew from the Brisbane International tennis tournament after succumbing to a shoulder injury.

The former world No. 1 hurt her shoulder during training and decided to pull out of Brisbane to avoid the risk of further damage.

Wozniacki said she was confident she would be able to play in Sydney next week ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, the first major of the season.

“There is nothing wrong with the ligaments or with the tendons,” she said.

“So that’s very positive. They just said to take it easy over the next few days,” Wozniacki added.

“I’m fine doing some things on the court as well, which is great,” she said. “It’s improving every day, so a few more days and I should be ready.”

“I just feel like for me it’s more important that I really get 100 percent and make sure that it doesn’t get worse,” Wozniacki said. “I thought the right decision for me was to withdraw from here.”

After pulling out of the Brisbane International with injuries in recent seasons, Maria Sharapova is aiming to use the season-opening tournament this time as a springboard for her comeback and to see how her new support crew works in competition.

Sharapova has only played one match since an early exit at Wimbledon due to a right shoulder injury and has spent months working with her new coach Sven Groeneveld. She arrived in Australia to prepare for the first major of the season with her boyfriend and fellow professional Grigor Dimitrov, who returns after losing the final here to Andy Murray last season.

Traveling with Dimitrov has helped, she said, despite or because of their major common interest.

“Of course we share a lot of the same things just because we have an elephant in the room that’s called tennis,” Sharapova said yesterday. “But there are so many other things to life that are besides tennis, and there are a lot more things to discuss than forehands and backhands and strings and rackets, which we share similar ideas and things of.”

Sharapova split with coach Thomas Hogstedt after her Wimbledon loss, and said she was not in the right frame of mind to work with Jimmy Connors long-term — that partnership lasted one match.

“You have to realize that the decisions you make, you have to make them selfishly in this business to be better, to know what’s right for you,” she said. “From the first time we met I really liked what [Groeneveld] had to say. He’s a team player. He works with everyone on my team, something I was missing for a little bit of time.”

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