Medics’ re­sponse to hor­rific in­ci­dent crit­i­cized as No­vak and Roger roll on

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Bethanie Mat­tek-Sands suf­fered a hor­rific knee in­jury at Wim­ble­don on Thurs­day which left her scream­ing in pain and plead­ing for help, as of­fi­cials were ac­cused of freezing in the Amer­i­can’s des­per­ate mo­ment of need.

The dis­tress­ing drama on Court 17, where the 32-yearold lay stricken for at least 20 min­utes, pushed the ti­tle cam­paigns of No­vak Djokovic and Roger Fed­erer to the side­lines.

“Please help me! Please! Please!” screamed Mat­tekSands as she clutched her right knee after col­laps­ing run­ning to the net in the first point of the de­cid­ing set of her sec­ond-round match against Ro­ma­nia’s So­rana Cirstea.

The WTA said Mat­tekSands, who is a five-time Grand Slam dou­bles cham­pion, sus­tained an “acute knee in­jury” and was taken to hospi­tal.

Cirstea ques­tioned why it took so long for the med­i­cal team to ar­rive on the court, which is sit­u­ated right be­side Cen­tre Court.

“She was in shock. Her knee was in a very weird po­si­tion. I’ve never seen any­thing like this, ex­cept in the movies,” said Cirstea.

“And, yeah, I pan­icked a lit­tle bit, as well. I called for help, but no one was com­ing.

“Every­one froze and I screamed some­thing to the chair umpire. Bethanie was say­ing, ‘ So­rana, please help me.’ But I felt use­less. I wished I could have done more.

“It felt for­ever for help to come. It was me, her hus­band Justin and my physio. I don’t know for how long she was on the ground, but I would say 10, 15 min­utes.”

The All Eng­land Club de­fended its han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion, claim­ing: “The first re­sponse to Court 17 was within one minute, by a qual­i­fied am­bu­lance tech­ni­cian.”

In a state­ment, it added: “The player was kept on court while pain re­lief was given.

“The player was then trans­ferred di­rectly to an am­bu­lance and taken un­der emer­gency con­di­tions to a hospi­tal.”

Mean­while, Djokovic shrugged off swel­ter­ing heat of 30 C to breeze past the out­classed Adam Pavlasek 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.

The three-time cham­pion brushed aside the 136rdranked Czech to make the last 32 for the ninth year in suc­ces­sion.

Ser­bian Djokovic, the sec­ond seed whose shock thir­dround loss to Sam Quer­rey 12 months ago pre­cip­i­tated a sharp de­cline in form, will next face Ernests Gul­bis, of Latvia.

“It was a very warm day, it wasn’t easy to play point after point and some long ral­lies,” said Djokovic.

Gul­bis, a former top-10 player, sprang a sur­prise as the world No 589 de­feated former US Open cham­pion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Third seed Fed­erer con­tin­ued his bid for a record eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle by see­ing off world No 79 Dusan La­jovic 7-6 (0), 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round for the 15th time.

“I strug­gled at the start and couldn’t find my rhythm,” said Fed­erer, who dropped his first ser­vice game to trail 2-0 to his 79th-ranked op­po­nent.

“But once I got rid of the nerves I played some in­spired stuff.”

The Swiss star next faces Ger­man serve-and-volleyer Mis­cha Zverev, who is ranked 30th in the world.

Amer­i­can 17 th seed Jack Sock suf­fered the big­gest up­set of the day, los­ing 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2 to Aus­trian world No 217 Se­bas­tian Ofner, who had never played a ma­jor be­fore this week.

The women’s event was thrown wide open when Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova crashed out to world No 108 Mag­dalena Ry­barikova, of Slo­vakia.

Ry­barikova won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Cen­tre Court, earn­ing a last-32 clash with Ukraine’s Le­sia Tsurenko.

“For me, the tour­na­ment is over. So what­ever hap­pens hap­pens. I’m not go­ing to pray for some­body los­ing or win­ning. That’s not my thing,” said Pliskova, who has never gone be­yond the sec­ond round at Wim­ble­don.

Top seed An­gelique Ker­ber eased into the third round with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Kirsten Flip­kens.

Ger­man Ker­ber next faces Shelby Rogers who beat Lucie Sa­farova 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3. The de­feated Czech was pos­si­bly still dis­tracted by the events in­volv­ing close friend and dou­bles part­ner Mat­tekSands.

Mean­while, Aus­tralian Bernard Tomic was fined $15,000 on Thurs­day after caus­ing up­roar by claim­ing he was “bored” dur­ing his lack­lus­ter straight-sets de­feat to Mis­cha Zverev on Tues­day.

The 24-year-old Tomic, who was ranked 17 th in Jan­uary 2016 but is now 59th, also lost his racket spon­sor, Head, as a con­se­quence.

Cana­dian sixth seed Mi­los Raonic, the run­ner-up to Andy Mur­ray last year, over­came Rus­sian Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4, 7-5.

Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska, the 2012 fi­nal­ist, saved two match points to see off Christina McHale 5-7, 7-6 (9), 6-3.

TONY O'BRIEN / REUTERS

Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic cel­e­brates win­ning his sec­ond-round match against Czech Adam Pavlasek at Wim­ble­don on Thurs­day. The world No 4 ad­vanced 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 and will next face Lat­vian Ernests Gul­bis.

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