Tennis: Injury forces out Ivanisevic: Hip problem forces world No 2 to retire in warm-up event for next week's US Open

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE TOP seed and world No 2, Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia, suffered a hip injury and retired from his first- round match with the unseeded American Richie Reneberg at the Hamlet Cup on Tuesday.

Reneberg beat Ivanisevic, a Wimbledon finalist this year, 7-6, 3-0 to bring an early halt to the Croatian's warm-up for the US Open, which begins next week.

Ivanisevic said he felt pain during a morning practice, but was 'better' when he went out to play Reneberg, ranked 62nd in the world.

'The pain got bad in the first set and I called for a trainer,' Ivanisevic said. 'I couldn't run for the forehand and couldn't serve well.' Alex Stober, the Tour trainer, examined Ivanisevic during the change of ends half-way through the set. 'He told me he couldn't help me because he couldn't tape up so high,' Ivanisevic said.

Stober said the injury was a pulled left hip flexor and that Ivanisevic could have aggravated it by continuing to play.

'I tried to play some more,' the Croatian left- hander said. He reached the first-set tie-break, but then double-faulted to start Reneberg's five-point spree which clinched the set.

'I thought he'd quit at the end of the set,' Reneberg said. 'I knew he was hurt but I didn't know what was wrong. I was surprised when he came out to start the second set.'

Ivanisevic had a break point against Reneberg in the opening game of the second set but the American then easily won the next 11 points and Ivanisevic retired. 'I just couldn't stand there and hit the ball bad,' he said. 'I'll see a doctor now. I know the US Open starts (next week) and it's important. I've never done well here.' In five tries, Ivanisevic's best US Open showing was reaching the fourth round in 1991.

The second seed, Stefan Edberg of Sweden, the third- seeded American Michael Chang, and the fourth-seeded Todd Martin, of the United States, all reached the second round.

Edberg overwhelmed Britain's unseeded Mark Petchey 6-2, 6-4 with the loss of only 11 points in nine service games. 'My service is the key to my game,' said Edberg, who now has a 14-2 match record since Wimbledon.

Chang held off the Swede Henrik Holm 6-0, 7-6. Holm, who eliminated Edberg in the opening round at the French Open last May, served for the second set at 5-4 and 6-5 but was unable to convert those opportunities. Martin eliminated the unseeded David Rikl 6-3, 6-4.

In other matches, the fifth- seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov, of Russia, beat Guy Forget, of France, 6-3, 6-4. The sixth seed, Cedric Pioline of France, rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to beat Martin Damm, of the Czech Republic, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 . The seventh seed, Marc Rosset of Switzerland, the defending tournament champion, defeated the American Robbie Weiss, a qualifier, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.

Steffi Graf, the world No 1, and Jana Novotna will head the field for this year's Brighton International Ladies Championships from 18 to 23 October. Mary Joe Fernandez, Anke Huber and Magdalena Maleeva are also scheduled to appear at the event.