Injured Ivanisevic pulls out

Tennis

JOHN ROBERTS

reports from Key Biscayne

A pain in the neck ended Goran Ivanisevic's challenge for the Lipton title in the fourth game of yesterday's final here against Andre Agassi, the defending champion.

As Ivanisevic slumped in his chair, Agassi took to the microphone and silenced the whistles and jeers of 15,000 disappointed spectators by explaining why his opponent was unable to continue. A thunderstorm then washed out an exhibition between Agassi and Jim Courier, with the Las Vegan leading 5-3.

It was surprising that the crowd had not been informed of Ivanisevic's injury when the start of the match was delayed for 30 minutes, and that the Croat even attempted to play. The tournament doctor described the affliction as a muscular spasm.

Ivanisevic, who had beaten Michael Chang and Pete Sampras on the way to his seventh ATP Tour final of the year, had awoken in pain, was unable to hit backhands without discomfort during his morning practice, and served like Gabriela Sabatini.

His first delivery of 80mph - 40mph below speed - was a clear indication that 90 minutes of treatment, including an injection, had not improved his condition. Ivansievic salvaged five points - four when broken in the first game - before retiring after 10 minutes with Agassi leading, 3-0, 40-0. His participation in Croatia's Davis Cup tie against the Ukraine next Friday is in doubt.

It is the second time that the Lipton tournament has been concluded in unsatisfactory circumstances. Ivan Lendl had a walkover in 1989, when Thomas Muster was injured by a drunk driver shortly after defeating Yannick Noah in the semi-finals. Two years ago, Agassi lost to Pete Sampras in the final after allowing his American rival an hour to recover from a stomach upset before the start of their match.

The women's final on Saturday was also an anti-climax, Steffi Graf overwhelming Chanda Rubin, 6-1, 6-3, in 54 minutes. The ease of Graf's victory was disappointing, because Rubin, has great potential. Moreover, the 20-year- old from Louisiana has a reputation for engaging leading players in marathon matches, partly because of her fighting spirit, but sometimes because she has trouble finishing them off.

Her four meetings with Graf have not even been close: straight-sets, with the American accumulating only 14 games. Rubin was a set and 2-0 down on Saturday before her nerves settled long enough for her to make her presence felt with three consecutive aces, the first off a second serve.

Rubin also applied sufficient pressure to break to love and level at 3-3, Graf double-faulting on the final point. But the American then missed the opportunitiy to take a 4-3 lead by missing a forehand on game point and misdirecting a volley to lose serve.

Against Monica Seles in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, Rubin led 5-2 in the final set before succumbing to the superiority of the player co-ranked with Graf as the world No 1. "They're both great players in their own right, but Steffi's game definitely presents more problems for me," Rubin said.

When, one wonders, shall we next see Graf and Seles in opposition? It appears that when Graf is fit, Seles is convalescing, and vice versa.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf