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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ivanovic injury sends Venus through

Photo Titled Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic's trainer investigates her injury in her 4th round ladies' singles match against Venus Williams. Ivanovic retired shortly after.

na Ivanovic may have had worse days at the office than this, but not many. The 12th seed was all but blasted off No.1 Court in the first set by the tournament favourite and defending champion Venus Williams in their fourth round match.

And at the start of the second, Ivanovic received prolonged treatment to a thigh injury. She tried valiantly to continue but, sobbing with pain and disappointment, was forced to admit that she could not.

The pity was that it all started so optimistically for Ivanovic. She came on court with the same light strapping to her right knee which has been in place throughout the tournament, and she seemed untroubled by it. Williams had by far the heavier strapping on her left leg, which appeared after her second round match last week.

In the opening game, Williams’ serve – the key to her grasscourt game, of course – was not quite in gear. The 21-year-old Serb was attacking brightly, and with a challenged linecall she brought up two break points. The first was wasted tamely, and ominously Venus saved the second with an unreturnable serve. But Ivanovic sent over a delicious dropshot for a third chance to break, and came close to making a lovely running forehand pass down the line – but the net denied her, and ultimately the five-times Wimbledon champion held.

Keen to set the record straight, Venus at once went on the offensive herself, and an unforced backhand error gave her the break that had eluded Ivanovic. From there it was downhill for last year’s French Open champion. Williams made short work of another break. Ivanovic had her chances but made errors at exactly the wrong time. Her first serve percentage was very good, but she was not converting it into points won.

When she managed to get on the scoreboard at 5-1 the crowd gave her a sympathetic ovation but, to a champion’s ears, sympathetic applause is not exactly the sweetest sound. Williams wrapped up the set in 30 minutes – her 30th consecutive victorious set at Wimbledon – and it was difficult to remember that Ivanovic is an ex-world number one.

There was no visible moment when Ivanovic sustained her injury. She delivered an ace to save break point in the opening game of the second set, after which she put her hand to her groin and winced.

With the score at deuce, she asked umpire Carlos Ramos to call the trainer, and walked gingerly back to her chair, appearing on the brink of tears. A 10-minute period of treatment followed, when a heavy strapping was applied to the inside of her left thigh.

Play resumed and gallantly she managed another winning point, although she was clearly crying. She served out the game but was overcome with pain and, sobbing, was forced to concede the match.

Court 1 - Ladies' Singles - 4th Round
Venus Williams USA (3)*Winner60
Ana Ivanovic SRB (13)11

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