Ser­ena pulls out with knee prob­lem

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Sport - Agence France-Presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com n

Ser­ena Wil­liams with­drew from the Italian Open on Tues­day with a re­cur­ring left knee injury hand­ing sis­ter Venus a walkover into the third round. In Tues­day’s state­ment, the 23-time Grand Slam win­ner in­sisted she would still be com­pet­ing in the French Open later this month.

“I must with­draw from the Italian Open due to pain in my left knee,” Ser­ena said in a state­ment. “I will miss the fans and com­pe­ti­tion at one of my favourite tour­na­ments. I’ll be con­cen­trat­ing on re­hab and look for­ward to see­ing you all at the French Open and next year in Rome.” The French Open starts on May 26.

Ser­ena’s with­drawal comes a day af­ter she beat Swe­den’s Re­becca Peter­son in straight sets to set up a sec­ond round meet­ing with her older sis­ter Venus.

She had been re­turn­ing af­ter more than two months out with a knee prob­lem, in the fi­nal warm-up clay-court tour­na­ment be­fore the French Open.

Four-time Rome win­ner Ser­ena, 37, had eased through 6-4, 6-2 her first round match against Swedish qual­i­fier Pe­tersen.

Ser­ena had also played Pe­tersen in the sec­ond round at the Mi­ami Open in March be­fore with­draw­ing with a knee injury.

Her with­drawal sends Venus Wil­liams, the 1999 win­ner, through to a third round meet­ing with ei­ther Jo­hanna Konta of Bri­tain or Amer­i­can sev­enth seed Sloane Stephens.

Ser­ena—now ranked 11th— has com­pleted just eight matches this year, also with­draw­ing from In­dian Wells in March with ill­ness. There are now doubts that the veteran can add to her tally of Grand Slams, some­thing which has so far proved be­yond her since re­turn­ing last year af­ter tak­ing time out fol­low­ing the birth of her first child.

Her last Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle was won at the Aus­tralian Open in 2017, where she was preg­nant, break­ing a tie with St­effi Graf for the most in the pro­fes­sional era.

Her win in Mel­bourne moved her one be­hind Aus­tralian Court’s record of 24 ma­jor sin­gles ti­tles. She is a three-time French Open win­ner, claim­ing her last ti­tle in Roland Gar­ros in 2015.

ZVEREV CRASHES OUT

Ger­many’s Alexan­der Zverev crashed out of the Italian Open on Tues­day with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Italian wild card Mat­teo Berret­tini in the sec­ond round.

The 33rd-ranked Italian sur­vived four break points in the sec­ond set, break­ing the Ger­man in the twelfth game to close 7-5 to the de­light of the home crowd.

The 22-year-old Zverev had been seeded fourth in the fi­nal clay-court warm-up be­fore the French Open later this month, and was play­ing his first game hav­ing re­ceived a first-round bye. Also, David Gof­fin ral­lied past Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.

AP

Ser­ena Wil­liams ex­pressed con­fi­dence she would com­pete in the French Open.

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