Brisbane: Serena Williams injured her left ankle today while playing her first tournament since September in what looms as a major setback for her Australian Open preparations.
Williams, in her first trip Down Under since winning the 2010 Australian title and playing a tournament for the first time since losing last year`s U.S. Open final, was serving for the match at 6-2, 5-3 against Serbia`s Bojana Jovanovski when she was wrong-footed and twisted her ankle, crashing heavily to the court.
The 13-time Grand Slam winner needed treatment as she lay near the baseline for several minutes and then had the ankle re-taped before resuming the match and losing the next point to surrender a service break.
Williams limped through the next game, wincing in pain after at least two points, before securing a 6-2, 6-4 win to advance to the Brisbane International quarterfinals.
She left the court without commenting and tournament officials said she was being assessed by a doctor. Williams has been troubled by injuries for much of the past two seasons and spent long periods on the sidelines.
Sam Stosur, who beat Williams in the US Open final last September, had an upset 6-4, 6-2 loss to Iveta Benesova in the preceding match on center court, extending a run of never advancing beyond the second round at her home tournament.
It was the 28-year-old Benesova`s fourth win over a Top 10 player.