WOZNIACKI, SVITOLINA PULL OUT INJURED
HONG KONG: Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and world number four Elina Svitolina both withdrew from the Hong Kong Open with injuries on Thursday, leaving the WTA event devastated after a spate of pre-tournament pullouts and early big name exits.
A tearful third seed Wozniacki appeared on centre court just after her second-round match against Lizette Cabrera had been due to start to announce she had injured her elbow in practice.
“I want to apologise to everyone who came out today to watch this match,” said an emotional Wozniacki, who won the title on the same court 12 months ago.”
“I did everything I could possibly to get ready for today,” she told the crowd.
“But unfortunately I hurt my elbow during practice and there’s just no way I could perform my best out here today.”
“Unfortunately I have to withdraw from the tournament,” she added choking back tears.
Top seed Svitolina earlier withdrew from her last-16 match against Nicole Gibbs citing a right groin strain sustained during a mammoth, 3hr 21min quarterfinal defeat in Beijing last week to the eventual champion there, Caroline Garcia. “I picked up the injury a little bit in Beijing,” she said. “It’s the groin. All the time when I go for wide shots or stretch I feel it.”
Ukraine’s Svitolina and Denmark’s Wozniacki both have one eye on this month’s lucrative WTA Finals in Singapore where the top eight will battle it out for a massive $7 million prize fund.
“I will probably do some scans now to see how it is, because you know I have Singapore,” admitted Svitolina. “It’s a tough decision because I really wanted to play here.”
BIG NAME NO-SHOWS The tournament, which has just Second round: Lizette Cabrera (AUS) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x3) walkover; Nicole Gibbs (USA) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x1) walkover; Jennifer Brady (USA) bt Shuai Zhang (CHN x8) 6-3, 6-4; Qiang Wang (CHN) bt Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-4, 6-4 two seeds left standing at the lasteight stage, was rocked even before it started by the pullouts of three other big names.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens cried off with an injury after losing in the first round in both Wuhan and Beijing, her only appearances since her Flushing Meadows triumph.
British world number 10 Johanna Konta also cancelled her trip because of a foot problem, while France’s 13thranked Kristina Mladenovic opted out with a knee injury.
Of the star players that did show up at Victoria Park, number two seed Venus Williams was sent packing in her second-round match in straight sets on Wednesday by Japanese teen sensation Naomi Osaka.
And she was swiftly followed by fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, beaten in three sets by the resurgent former US Open champion Sam Stosur.
In the little action that did take place on court on Thursday, China’s eighth seed Zhang Shuai was ousted by American Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-4 who will face Gibbs in an allAmerican quarterfinal.
It left Wang Qiang as the sole Chinese representative in the draw after she breezed past Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum 6-4, 6-4.
Wang will face Australia’s Stosur in Friday for a place in the semifinals and Cabrera, the world number 155, has an all-Australian last-eight match against Daria Gavrilova, the seventh seed.
The only other seed remaining, number six Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, will play Osaka.
Big-hitting American Brady, ranked 70, easily overcame an out-ofsorts local crowd favourite Zhang 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour.
Brady smacked down seven aces to overpower the world number 31, whose inconsistent serve was broken three times in the second set alone.
“I started strongly with the first break and was aggressive,” said Brady. “So I’m happy with the win.”
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark throws balls to fans as she walks on the court shortly after withdrawing from her second round match against Lizette Cabrera of Australia at the WTA tournament in Hong Kong. Elina Svitolina of Ukraine hits a return during...
Jennifer Brady of the US returns a shot against China’s Zhang Shuai at the Hong Kong Open.