WOZ­NI­ACKI, SVI­TOLINA PULL OUT IN­JURED

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

— AFP

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 her quar­ter­fi­nal match against Caro­line Gar­cia of France at the China Open in Bei­jing on Oc­to­ber 6.

— AFP

Jen­nifer Brady of the US re­turns a shot against China’s Zhang Shuai at the Hong Kong Open.

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