Mixed fortunes for Czech performers

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The Independent Online

Czech players had contrasting fortunes in the quarter-finals of the European Community tournament yesterday, with Petr Korda winning easily but Martin Damm retiring after four games.

Korda trounced the Belgian qualifier Dick Norman, the tallest player on the ATP tour, 6-3, 6-4. Damm, who had sprained his ankle in the last set of his second-round match against Marcelo Rios on Thursday, was trailing the German, Marc Goellner, 3-1 in the first set when he pulled out. Damm, who had also played a doubles match after hurting his ankle, was slowed and his service was weaker than usual.

The world No 1, Steffi Graf, will not play the Federation Cup as she is still troubled by the knee injury that forced her out of last month's Tokyo tour final, German team officials confirmed yesterday. The injury has already kept her out of this week's WTA event in Hanover. Graf's doctor advised her to rest for up to a month, ruling out the Cup clashes with the Czech Republic on 1 and 2 March. She will also miss tournaments in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.

The Italian Indoor tournament in Milan next week has been hit by a wave of withdrawals by leading players because of injury or illness. Six players have pulled out - the Swedes Thomas Enqvist and Magnus Gustafsson, Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Italy's Renzo Furlan, the Dutchman Jan Siemerink, and the German Hendrik Dreekmann. Enqvist and Siemerink have leg injuries, Gustafsson a shoulder problem, Kafelnikov a hand injury and Dreekmann a wrist problem. Furlan is ill.

The top seeds in Milan are expected to be the Croat, Goran Ivanisevic, and the German, Boris Becker, who both pulled out of the European Community championship in Antwerp on Tuesday with shoulder and wrist tendinitis respectively.

n The Lincolnshire top seed Andrew Richardson is the only British player in today's semi-finals of the LTA Men's Indoor Satellite event at Eastbourne. He defeated the British Davis Cup player Luke Milligan 6-2, 6-1 in yesterday's quarter-finals.

n Britain's Shirli-Ann Siddall was deprived of her 13th successive win when beaten 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 by Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo in the semi-finals of the LTA Ladies pounds 16,000 event at Redbridge yesterday.