Injury Ends Kuznetsova's Challenge In Fès

Svetlana Kuznetsova became the first major casualty in Fès when injury forced her to retire in the final set against Irina-Camelia Begu.

Published April 25, 2012 04:52

Injury Ends Kuznetsova's Challenge In Fès
Irina-Camelia Begu

FÈS, Morocco - Svetlana Kuznetsova's hopes of ending a 20-month title drought at the Grand Prix De Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem were dashed on Wednesday as injury forced her to retire from her second round match with Irina-Camelia Begu.

The left thigh injury brought a premature conclusion to what was turning out to be an entertaining encounter. When No.2 seed Kuznetsova breezed through the opening set and raced 5-2 ahead in the second, the result appeared a foregone conclusion.

However, it was at this point that Begu decided to stage the unlikeliest of comebacks, capitalizing on Kuznetsova's inhibited movement after an injury timeout to win the next four games - and saving match point at 5-4 - before nicking the set on a tie-break.

The decider, which opened up with an early exchange of breaks, looked to be heading for another exciting finish, only for Kuznetsova's injury to end the contest with Begu leading, 16 76(4) 32.

"It was tough," Begu said. "She was ahead by a set and 5-2 and only then I started to play. I was fighting for every ball and I think that was the key to my comeback.

"She wasn't moving so well after the injury and I tried to move her about and I started to have some success with this. I'm happy to win, but it's also sad for Sveta and I hope she will recover quickly."

There was no such drama in either of the other matches involving leading seeds in Morocco, as Anabel Medina Garrigues and Petra Cetkovska both enjoyed straightforward wins. No.1 seed Medina Garrigues defeated Mandy Minella, 62 63, while No.3 Cetkovska saw off Timea Bacsinszky, 63 62.

"I'm very happy to be in the quarterfinals," Medina Garrigues said. "In the next match I want to try to play a little bit more freely and go for my shots a little bit more. If I can do this I think I can continue to do well."

Elsewhere, there were upset wins for Kiki Bertens and Mathilde Johansson. Bertens came through qualifying just to make the main draw and reached her first WTA quarterfinal with a 75 16 63 win over No.6 seed Chanelle Scheepers. Johansson, who only gained her place in the draw as a lucky loser after Ekaterina Makarova's late withdrawal, also went the distance, overcoming No.8 seed Shahar Peer, 46 63 62.

"The match went great. It was tough, and she made it difficult in the first set but then I began to fight back," Johansson said. "My serve was working well and I was hitting my forehand much better than in my other matches here so I hope I can continue this for the rest of the week."

Also advancing were No.5 seed Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco and Laura Pous-Tio who scored wins over Alexandra Cadantu, Arantxa Rus and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner respectively.

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