German Trio Advances, Injury Claims Li & JJ
Published February 07, 2012 12:00
PARIS, France - One of the star attractions at the Open GDF SUEZ saw her tournament come to a quick and unfortunate end on Tuesday afternoon, as Li Na had to retire during her opening match against Tsvetana Pironkova.
After losing the first five games, the No.3-seeded Li rallied to push the set to a tie-break; she lost the breaker, though, and her lower back injury became too much, as she was forced to hand Pironkova a 76(5) 32 retirement win.
"I was feeling it a little bit in Fed Cup, in my left side," Li said. "The China team has doctors, so I had needles for two days and was feeling much, much better, and this morning I didn't feel uncomfortable or anything. At the beginning of the match it was okay, too. But then suddenly I was feeling it, even at changeovers. It was so painful. I tried to get the tape and play the point, but it didn't work.
"I don't know whether it's the muscle, bone or tendon, so I'll go to the hospital later and find out after the press conference."
Pironkova showed off some impressive shot variety and blistering backhands during the match, though, and lives to see another day in the French capital.
"At Fed Cup in Israel last week I played some good matches, which have helped my form and my confidence," said Pironkova, a former semifinalist at Wimbledon. "I felt pretty good coming here, and I'm glad I could show some good tennis on the court today against such a world class player."
Li wasn't the only player to bow out of the tournament due to injury - Jelena Jankovic was also forced to pull out due to a left thigh injury from Fed Cup.
"I was playing against Flipkens on Saturday and during one point in the second set I felt a really sharp pain. I managed to finish the match and went to do some tests - I had an MRI done and have a strain," said Jankovic, who was to be the No.4 seed this week. "I tried my best to have a lot of treatment, but it just isn't possible. I'm disappointed because I haven't played here since 2009."
The rest of the players in action emerged unscathed however, with a trio of Germans - No.6 seed Julia Goerges, No.9 seed Angelique Kerber and qualifier Mona Barthel - among the winners. Petra Cetkovska, Chanelle Scheepers and Petra Martic also recorded first round victories.
The first round will wrap up on Wednesday and the first two second round matches will also take the court at night, with No.1 seed Maria Sharapova playing Scheepers and Goerges taking on Cetkovska in the late match.