Perth: A wrist injury for Italian Flavia Pennetta helped Canada stay in the hunt for a maiden Hopman Cup final appearance in Perth on Thursday.
With the Australian Open just over a week away, Pennetta was forced to withdraw from her singles match against Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard when trailing 4-0, ending Italy`s hopes in the tournament. She immediately ruled herself out of the remainder of the event.
The Canadians won the tie 3-0 after Milos Raonic beat Andreas Seppi in straight sets in the men`s singles and the mixed doubles was forfeited.
They need Australia to beat Poland in Thursday`s evening tie to stand any chance of reaching the final in only their second appearance at the Hopman Cup. Poland could still qualify even if they are defeated, depending on results in the three matches.
Pennetta had an operation on the same wrist, the right wrist, in 2012, but is confident the latest setback is nothing more than an inflammation.
The world number 31, who said the wrist was sore when she awoke on Thursday and she was close to withdrawing before the start of the match, had strapping applied after the third game but the injury was clearly affecting her serve and forehand.
The 31-year-old Italian is still expecting to play in Hobart next week to complete her preparations for the year`s opening Grand Slam, starting on January 13 in Melbourne.
"It`s the wrist that I had the operation on.... Sometimes it gives me some problem, I hope it`s nothing too serious," she said. "I was thinking maybe with some warm-up it would get better but it did not.
"I will have some treatment. Maybe I won`t play for one or two days to help because I think it`s more something like inflammation, it`s not like a tear or ligaments."
Bouchard said she was disappointed that the match was abbreviated, as she felt she was playing well.
In the men`s singles, world number 11 Raonic overpowered the out-of-sorts Seppi 6-2, 6-4.
Seppi, ranked 25th in the world, retired from his first match at the tournament due to illness, and lost both his subsequent singles outings in disappointing fashion.
Raonic was a shock loser to the 288th-ranked Grzegorz Panfil on Sunday and was pleased to put that result behind him.
"It was much better," he said of his match against Seppi. "It was day and night pretty much. This time I tried to take the initiative, the other night I didn`t play my own game."