Injured Venus Williams pulls out of German Open final
By ROY KAMMERER, Associated Press Writer
May 9, 2004
AP - May 9, 9:23 am EDT
BERLIN (AP) -- Venus Williams pulled out of the German Open final Sunday because of an ankle injury, giving the title to Amelie Mauresmo. The injury could threaten Williams' chances of playing the French Open.
Williams, the latest top female player to be injured, twisted her left ankle against Croatia's Karolina Sprem in Saturday's semifinal.
Williams, who has been battling injuries all year, was unsure if her ailing ankle would force to skip the clay-court major at Roland Garros, which starts in two weeks.
``I don't know, I don't even want to think about that right now,'' said Williams, once ranked No. 1. ``Last night I had difficulties with it. Right now I got one good and one bad foot.''
``I would really, really like to play the French. But right now I'm just going home to get some rest and see my family.'' ``
Williams was riding a 15-match winning streak and seeking her third straight title before pulling out. Mauresmo, ranked No. 3, picked up her first title this year and 11th of her career.
``It's a shame for everybody,'' the Frenchwoman said. ``It's a strange way to end the tournament. You want to win a title on the court.''
Many of the biggest names on the women's tour have been sidelined by health problems this year. Top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne is battling a virus, and Serena Williams will return from a knee injury at next week's tournament in Rome.
Kim Clijsters, ranked second, was forced out of the French Open when her recurring wrist injury flared at the German Open, a key tuneup for the French. She pulled out of a quarterfinal.
``It's like there's a spell over the tour,'' Clijsters said.
Mauresmo has missed several events with back injuries along with Jennifer Capriati, whom she beat in Saturday's semifinals.
``Tennis is getting harder and harder,'' Mauresmo said. ``The level is higher and higher every year and we have to work to keep up that level and sometimes our body doesn't follow.''
Venus Williams has had a leg injury and several times twisted her ankles during a comeback from an abdominal strain that sidelined the American for the second half of 2003.
Williams survived a tough match against Sprem. The Croat was up 3-0 in the final set before Williams rallied to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the $1.3 million clay-court event.
Mauresmo, who also won the tournament in 2001, routed Capriati 6-2, 6-0 and appears in great form heading into the French Open.
``I'm one of, let's say, five players who have real hopes of winning there,'' said Mauresmo, who earned $189,000 for her Berlin title. ``The pleasure isn't the same winning the tournament this way. But it's not just today, it's the way you've played the whole week.''
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