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Ivanovic out as seeds tumble in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar — Injured Ana Ivanovic, the top seed in a major event for the first time in her career, has been forced to withdraw from the Qatar Open after only one match.

And the tournamen was dealt further blows when Russian second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and sixth-seeded American Venus Williams followed Ivanovic out of the event following defeats on Thursday.

Kuznetsova lost 6-3 7-6 against 15th-seeded Austrian Sybille Bammer in galeforce conditions while Dominika Cibulkova surprised Willians 6-3 6-3 and Vera Zvonareva defeated fellow Russian Dinara Safina (11) 7-5 6-3.

Australian Open finalist Ivanovic suffered damage to her left ankle on Wednesday just four points from the end of a straight sets win over Olga Govortsova.

Ivanovic collapsed after trying to turn just behind the baseline, sat there in tears with the pain for several minutes and considered quitting on the spot.

However, despite only being able to move with a limp she was persuaded that she might be able to finish the match, which she did by ripping three trademark ground stroke winners.

But she knew then that the reprieve may be temporary. It’s still painful, she said at the post-match press conference. It definitely hurts a lot and I’ll have to see tonight. The physio did a great job and I will try to recover as best I can.

It means that Ivanovic is now doubtful for the Dubai Open, which starts on Monday, although the Serb remains optimistic of competing in that event.

The injury is not as bad as I thought, she said after returning from the local hospital in Doha. There is no fracture. It is an ankle sprain. But it is pretty painful and it is hard to step on it.

I am definitely very disappointed. It’s a disappointing way to end the tournament and I thought I was in good shape. Conditions were tough but I was happy with my game and I though I was playing well. I thought I was in with a chance of another title.

Ivanovic’s withdrawal means a walk-over into the quarterfinals for Agnieszka Radwanska, the 15th seed from Poland.

Bammer, the only mother playing regularly on the WTA Tour, triumphed after an 18-point second set tie-break that saw Kuznetsova earn four set points.

She made a good pass to save the first set point and a forehand down the line saved the second — and Bammer hit two more well-driven winners at 6-7 and 7-8 to avoid being taken to a decider.

I fought, but I did not really start fighting till the end, admitted Kuznetsova. I guess I just got adjusted to it by then. But I should have started fighting earlier.

Asked if she thought play should be postponed when the wind was so strong, Kuznetsova said: I think so, yes. But you don’t think about this when you are on the court. E-mail to a friend

Ivanovic out as seeds tumble in Qatar – found here.

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February 21, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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