Sports

Injury ends Friedsam's hopes of upset

Friedsam in tears as injury curtails her hopes of a shock

Anna-Lena Friedsam's giant-killing run at the Australian Open ended in tears and injury yesterday, when ailments to both legs allowed world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska to snatch a 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 7-5 fourth-round win.

The 21-year-old German, who had never been past the second round of a Grand Slam before this year's tournament, had Radwanska on the ropes, when she led 5-2 in the deciding set, before injury cruelly struck at 5-4.

The 82nd-ranked Friedsam, who beat US Open-finalist Roberta Vinci in the third round, then took an injury time-out and had strapping applied to her left leg.

"I felt pain early in the third set, but I didn't know whether it was cramping or an injury," Friedsam said.

"It's a bad feeling."

Radwanska held serve in the next game, but Friedsam appeared to exacerbate her injury.

The German was given a time warning on the first point of the next game when she was unable to serve and broke into tears. She managed to play on and was 15-40 down when she appeared to strain her right hamstring.

"The big thing was the serve. I couldn't push off the leg," she added.

"It was 5-5 when I really felt it, and I had never had it before so I didn't know how to handle it."

Chair umpire Felix Torralba then sanctioned her again for exceeding the time limit and awarded Radwanska a point that sealed the game and gave her a 6-5 advantage.

The trainer again visited Friedman, who was in constant tears on her chair, but she managed to hobble out and complete the match and was given a massive cheer by the Hisense Arena crowd for her efforts.

Radwanska's quarter-final opponent tomorrow will be Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated Australia's Daria Gavrilova 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 last night.

The Pole, who had to play through the pain of a leg injury in the third round, said she had felt a twinge of sympathy for her hobbling opponent but also needed to be ruthless to advance.

"Of course, it's hard to see that," said Radwanska, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2014.

"It's tough because you know someone is struggling. But you really have to play your game because someone is still fighting.

"I had no choice but to just fight till the end for each point."

BATTLED

Suarez, the 10th seed, battled through knee pain to come back from a set down and make the last eight, ending the dream run of giant-killing local hope Daria Gavrilova.

"It was difficult on the court with the crowd and against a local player," said Suarez, 27, who made the quarters at Melbourne Park on her tournament debut in 2009 but had never again reached those heights, until now.

The Spaniard has also made the last eight at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, but failed to push on further.

"I felt the pain but that's part of the game," she said, after needing a medical time-out in the second set for treatment on her knee.

"You have to play with the pain until the end. I'm happy because I fought until the right point."

The defeat was a cruel blow for Australian fans, who were hoping Gavrilova could become the first Australian woman to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park since 2009. 
- Reuters.

WHAT’S GONE

WOMEN’S SINGLES 4TH ROUND

  • Maria Sharapova (x4) bt
    Belinda Bencic (​x12) 7-5, 7-5
  • Serena Williams (x1) bt
    Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-1
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (x4) bt
    Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 7-5
  • Carla Suarez (x10) bt
    Daria Gavrilova 0-6, 6-3, 6-2
Anna-Lena Friedsamaustralian open