Azarenka slumps down and out
Originally published on: 02/09/10 08:42
Victoria Azarenka’s US Open campaign ended (quite literally) with a thud after the Belarusian keeled over and appeared to fall unconscious on court during her second round match with Gisela Dulko.
The tenth seeded Belarusian crumpled to the ground while trailing 1-5 on serve, before being wheeled off court and taken to hospital. Out of sorts from the word go, Azarenka had already summoned a trainer on court during the first changeover, but her hopes of surpassing her fourth round best at the US Open were conclusively ended when she fell to the floor, prompting medics, ballboys and a worried Dulko to rush over with ice, towels and water. Explaining the bizarre incident in a statement, Azarenka said:
“I was warming up in the gym prior to my match against Gisela Dulko when I fell while running a sprint. I fell forward and hit my arm and head. I was checked by the medical team before I went on court and they were courtside for monitoring. I felt worse as the match went on, having a headache and feeling dizzy. I also started having trouble seeing and felt weak before I fell. I was taken to the hospital for some medical tests and have been diagnosed with a mild concussion.”
There was better fortune for Ana Ivanovic, who continued her recent return to form yesterday by defeating Zheng Jie 6-0 6-3 to reach the third round. The Serb, who has never gone beyond the fourth round at Flushing Meadows believes she is not far from a return to the form that took her to No.1 in the world in 2008.
“I feel like I’m playing like a top-10 player right now, and I have confidence that I can beat these players,” said the 22-year-old.
But despite her clean performance, the old demons have not completely vanished. Ivanovic threw in several errant ball tosses that led to three double faults. “There are still some bad ball tosses,” she admitted, “but I hope I’m not as famous for that anymore.”
Flying the Williams’ flag in the absence of three-time champion Serena, Venus Williams hinted at a silver lining to the absence of her sister at this year’s US Open.
“I’m glad that I’m just in the singles as that way I have a chance to recover between rounds,” said 30-year-old Venus after beating Canada’s Rebecca Marino 7-6 6-3. The American, who has won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles with sister Serena, has time for a breather ahead of her third round clash with Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella, who conquered Bulgarian 32 seed Tsvetana Pironkova.
“I’m really just going match by match,” said Williams, who has had little preparation for her tilt at a third title at Flushing Meadows after suffering with knee tendinitis in the lead up to the New York slam.
“I’m not thinking about dusting off any rust or where I might be.”
Elsewhere, defending champion Kim Clijsters defeated Sally Peers 6-2 6-1 in 56 minutes despite making just 51 per cent of her first serves, while Melanie Oudin’s hopes of repeating her 2009 run to the quarter-finals were abruptly ended by Alona Bondarenko in straight sets.
Perhaps it was those new custard-yellow and pink trainers, which were emblazoned with the tag-line “courage”, rather than last year’s winning stimulus “believe.”