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Injury wipes out four at Open GDF Suez

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Originally published on: 08/02/12 09:56

Li Na was forced out of the Open GDF Suez after retiring from her Paris opener with a lower back injury.

Returning to compete in the French capital for the first time since winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, the No.3 seed lost the first five games of her match with Tsvetana Pironkova and, though she rallied back to force a tiebreak, was ultimately forced to hand the Bulgarian a 7-6(5) 3-2 retirement win.

“I was feeling it a little bit in Fed Cup in my left side,” said Li, who had helped her nation advance to the World Group Play-Offs over the weekend.

“The China team has doctors, so I had needles for two days and was feeling much, much better, and this morning I didn’t feel uncomfortable or anything,” said Li.

“At the beginning of the match it was okay, too. But then suddenly I was feeling it, even at changeovers. It was so painful. I tried to get the tape and play the point, but it didn’t work.

“I don’t know whether it’s the muscle, bone or tendon, so I’ll go to the hospital later and find out after the press conference.”

Li follows Jelenka Jankovic out of the event, with the Serb picking up a left thigh injury – also while on Fed Cup duty for Serbia.

“I was playing against Flipkens on Saturday and during one point in the second set I felt a really sharp pain,” said Jankovic. “I managed to finish the match and went to do some tests – I had an MRI done and have a strain.

“I tried my best to have a lot of treatment, but it just isn’t possible. I’m disappointed because I haven’t played here since 2009.”

Sabine Lisicki (viral illness) and Kaia Kanepi (right shoulder) also withdrew in something of a mass exodus from the Paris event, where Amelie Mauresmo is tournament director. With the third, fourth and fifth seeds all out, the latter stages of the draw will look favourably on top seed Maria Sharapova and home favourite Marion Bartoli.

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