Chakvetadze takes weary Sharapova's place in Dubai sun

Maria Sharapova, complaining of a virus, withdrew from the Dubai Championships here yesterday, while another blonde Russian was pleased just to be on court. Anna Chakvetadze, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 winner over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, is putting her life back together after a robbery at her Moscow home two months ago, when the world No 6 and her parents were tied up as six masked assailants stole money and goods worth more than £150,000.

Chakvetadze, who was bound by her wrists in an attack that targeted her wealthy businessman father, lost feeling in the fingers of her left hand for several days. She was forced to abandon plans for pre-season training in warm weather climes and was well below her best at last month's Australian Open, where she lost in the third round to Maria Kirilenko.

"Life has to go on – you can't just dwell on the past," Chakvetadze said yesterday. "After what happened I wanted to move somewhere else in Moscow, but my parents didn't want to. Now we have bodyguards in the house and alarms. I couldn't sleep in my room for the first three nights, but now it's OK."

Was it odd to share the house with bodyguards? "I don't think it's strange. Sometimes you live in your house and you think you're safe, but you're not. I think this can happen to anyone. I never thought it would happen to me. I just thought it was something that happened in the movies. And when it does, you have to protect yourself."

The strength of the field here is such that Radwanska, the world No 19, had to qualify. The 19-year-old Pole, a quarter-finalist in Melbourne, provided a stern test for Chakvetadze, whose aggression eventually won the day.

Sharapova beat Radwanska in the semi-finals in Doha last week on the way to her second title this year. However, the Australian Open champion felt under the weather all week and woke up here yesterday with a worsening cough. At least her withdrawal preserves her 100 per cent record in 2008 after her victories in Melbourne and Doha and her winning Fed Cup debut against Israel.

The 20-year-old Russian blamed her ill health on too many long-haul flights. "I've done a lot of travelling in the last few weeks – going from Australia to Israel, then home, with no rest at all, practising for Doha and going there. I have to be smart about my decisions and I have made some wrong ones in the past – getting injured and getting sick, and going out there and not being 100 per cent. Then you are liable to hurt yourself. I have a long year."

She added: "Realistically, I don't think I can play five matches and as an athlete you have to be mentally and physically ready. After a few really long weeks you need a rest.

"I'll go home and have a vacation. I'll go somewhere where there's a limited amount of people around. I'll have a book in front of me and read. I'll have a fresh frame of mind for Indian Wells and Miami."

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone