Dramatic injury forces Williams out of Open

Updated: Jan 21, 2011, 19:08 PM IST

Melbourne: American Venus Williams retired hurt with a muscle strain after just one game of her
Australian Open third round match against Germany`s Andrea
Petkovic on Friday.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner screamed in pain and
stopped playing while receiving at 0-1 down, after being
broken in the first game. She limped to her chair and quickly
conceded defeat after seeing a trainer.

Petkovic was stunned at the retirement by Williams, her
first in 251 Grand Slam matches. Williams had needed treatment
to a psoas muscle, which runs from the abdomen to the groin,
in her previous match.

"I am very surprised she retired," said the German. "I
saw she got injured in her last game but she finished that
match so I figured she was going to play tonight."

The retirement continues a miserable run for the older
Williams sister in Melbourne and marks a bleak day for US
tennis, as it is the first time in the Open era that no
American woman has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

While sister Serena is a five-time champion, the best
Venus has managed is a runner-up finish to Serena in 2003. She
has only reached one semi-final, back in 2001.

On a court that should suit her she has often been
bundled out by players ranked well below her.

In 2009 she lost to Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the
second round and last year she was beaten by Li Na in the
quarter-finals.

Petkovic, 23, has now reached the last 16 at a Grand Slam
for the second time in succession. She was beaten at the same
stage of the 2010 US Open by eventual runner up Vera
Zvonareva.

She had a good start to the year when she made the final
of the Brisbane International, going down to Petra Kvitova.

She will take on former champion Maria Sharapova in the
fourth round following Sharapova`s three-set win over
Germany`s Julia Goerges earlier in the day.

Bureau Report