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."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform