Nadal fears Wimbledon injury knock-out

Defending champion Rafael Nadal admitted on Monday that he may be forced to quit Wimbledon because of a left foot injury he suffered in his last 16 win over Juan Martin del Potro.

The world number one will undergo a scan on Tuesday after needing a lengthy medical time-out when he suffered the injury in the first set of his thrilling 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 triumph over the Argentine 24th seed.

“I have to go to do an MRI. I don’t know right now, I cannot predict the future but I am worried for sure,” said the Spaniard.

“I felt really bad at 6-5 in the first set. I thought I had broken my foot at that moment.
I asked for the trainer when the game was done. I didn’t know if I will have the chance to continue playing.”

Nadal is due to tackle American 10th seed Mardy Fish, who he has defeated five times in five meetings, for a place in the semi-finals, but this latest injury will be a major concern.

It will be even a bigger blow if it happens at Wimbledon after a serious knee injury prevented him from defending his first All England Club title in 2009.

A dramatic first set, which also saw him warned by umpire Carlos Ramos for taking too long between points, ended with the champion needing the medical time-out on Centre Court at 6-6 in the first set.

The 24-year-old had his foot bandaged while he sat in his chair, grimacing with pain, but still came out for the tie-break which he won even though his movement appeared to be restricted.

“I don’t know what the problem is, it seems to be a problem with the bone in the foot,” said Nadal immediately after the match.

“I thought I would have to retire at the end of the first set because there was a lot of pain. But the tape changed the situation. Now I will have to check with the doctors and the physios. Something is there.

“At 6-5, I pushed hard with the forehand. I felt something crushed there in the back of the foot.”

Nadal, who had squandered two set points in the 10th game of the opener, had made Del Potro angry over the the amount of time spent on the attention paid to the Spaniard’s injury.

Nasty fall
A fired-up Del Potro then hit back to level the match, clubbing his way to the tie’s first break in the eighth game of the second set.

The 22-year-old, who defeated Nadal for the loss of just six games in the US Open semi-finals in 2009 before he went on to clinch his first and only Grand Slam title, had never got beyond the third round here in three previous visits.

He missed last year’s Wimbledon after a wrist injury, which restricted him to just three events and sent his ranking tumbling from four in the world to 485 in January.

He is back at 21 now and was using his giant 1.98-metre frame to hit deep and long on Monday.

But at 2-2, 15-30 in the third set, it was Del Potro’s turn to suffer when he hurt his left hip in a nasty fall as he tried to switch direction to chase down a Nadal forehand on the baseline.

The Argentine, who had suffered a similar injury in Madrid in May, then left the court for a medical time-out before returning to the fray.

He kept swinging in the third set but was out-played again in the tie-break which he conceded with a tame forehand into the net.

Nadal broke Del Potro for the first time in the match to lead 3-2 in the fourth set and took the victory on his first match point when Del Potro went long with a lob.

Moodie keeps SA hopes alive
Doubles specialist Wesley Moodie was the only South African left in the hunt after three of his compatriots were eliminated at Wimbledon in London on Monday.

South African No. 1 Kevin Anderson and Austrian partner Julian Knowle narrowly lost a five-set thriller in their third-round men’s doubles match against German Christopher Kas and Austrian Alexander Peya.

Kas and Peya fought hard to secure a 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 5-7, 8-6 victory.

Chanelle Scheepers, the South African women’s No. 1, and Natalie Grandin were knocked out in second-round women’s doubles encounters.

Scheepers and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova were eliminated in straight sets by the Italian pairing of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who bagged a 6-3, 6-1 win to reach the third round.

Grandin and her partner, Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic, got off to a good start in their second-round match against the 13th seeded pairing of Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

After winning the first set, however, Grandin and Uhlirova went down 6-4, 4-6, 4-6.

Moodie and Belgian partner Dick Norman did not yet know who they would face in the third round, with rain delays affecting the first and second rounds of the doubles competition.—AFP

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