Sunday, June 20

French Open: World number one Ash Barty withdraws from tournament with hip injury | French Open 2021


Ashleigh Barty will not play again at Roland Garros after being forced to withdraw from her second-round match with a left hip injury. The seeded, competing in Paris for the first time since winning her first Grand Slam title there in 2019, retired 6-1, 2-2 against Magda Linette after taking the court with an injury. preexisting.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Barty said. “We’ve had a brilliant season on clay, and having a bit of bad luck with timing more than anything, something sharp happening over the weekend and time running out against the clock is disappointing. It won’t take away from us the three brilliant months we’ve had, as much as it hurts now. “

Barty had returned to Paris in one of the best forms of his career, but questions remained as to whether his recent heavy workload had taken a toll on his body. Between his return to overseas competition at the Miami Open in March and Rome in mid-May, he played five tournaments with just one week off. Her consistency has been remarkable and she has compiled a 20-3 record during that span, marking her as a tournament favorite, but it had already come at a cost.

Two weeks ago, Barty withdrew from his quarter-finals at the Italian Open with a right arm injury and had his thigh strapped in recent games. But his body had healed when he arrived in Paris and his hopes were high when he entered the tournament. Instead, over the weekend on the eve of the tournament, Barty injured his hip in “an acute incident” when he landed while serving.

“Something that I have never experienced before, even chatting with my physical therapist, not something that she has seen regularly either,” he said. “So we’ve been consulting with people from all over the world to try to get an idea of ​​what are the best ways to manage it, to manage it, and I’m sure we have a plan. It’s just that we’re out of time here. “

It was clear from the beginning of his first round that Barty’s movement and serve were compromised, but his volatile opponent Bernarda Pera took big cuts on the ball and provided enough unforced errors (49) to help Barty survive his first round. . Linette, ranked 45th, is a more orderly and resourceful player and handled the situation extremely well, maneuvering the world’s number one around the court and delivering just six unforced errors. He closed the first set with a drop shot that Barty didn’t bother to pursue.

As Linette thrived, the limitations on Barty’s game as a result of his injury became even clearer. His biggest struggle was on serve, where he was unable to fully push up with his legs, instead relying on his arm to generate power in his serve.

He tried to compensate for his injury by attacking as soon as possible, committing 18 unforced errors in his short time on the court. After taking a medical break off the court after the first set, she was disconnected early in the second set after feeling the pain was too severe and the injury had become “unsafe.”

After such a difficult week at a tournament so dear to her, Barty will now strive to recover quickly to be ready for grass season, her favorite time of year, two years since she last competed on her best surface. A longer period on the sidelines would only increase their distress.

“It’s disappointing to end up like this,” Barty said. “I have had a fair amount of tears this week. Everything is alright. Everything happens for a reason. There will be a silver lining to this eventually. Once I find out what that is, I’ll feel a little better, but I’m sure it will be there. “

Meanwhile, last year’s finalist and fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin showed flashes of her form from last season when she defeated fellow American Hailey Baptiste 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round, winning. seven of the last 10 games in a row. which included 18 points in a row. She was joined by fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, now the highest seeded in the top quarter in the absence of Barty, who defeated Ann Li 6-0, 6-4.


www.theguardian.com

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