Injury halts Malisse to give Ancic easy passage

Mario Ancic was unaware, in his post-match interview after beating Xavier Malisse yesterday, whether his quarter-final opponent would be Tim Henman or Mark Philippoussis. Not that the 20-year-old Croatian seemed unduly concerned either way. He has Goran Ivanisevic on his side and he's not afraid to use him.

"Many kids in Croatia, like me, picked up a racket because of Goran," he said. "He was not only a big tennis person, he was such a character that everybody adored him. The guy had a lot of influence on all of us.

"He sent me a text message to say good luck before my match today. I'll talk to him before my next match. He's a great guy. We'll speak. It doesn't matter whether it's about tennis or something else. We'll just speak about whatever."

It seems harsh to report that Malisse, a semi-finalist two years ago, lay down for Ancic. But he did, literally, although his descent to the grass in the second set, caused by a recurrent lower-back injury, was more of a crumple. After unsuccessful treatment on the court, he was forced to retire. Ancic was leading 7-5, 3-1 at the time.

"It's not nice when somebody has to retire," said Ancic. "But I think if he, not me, had been leading by a set and a break, that for sure he would have continued. So in that I take credit. I think I played a pretty good first set. I was a break down and I started playing better, broke him, broke him again for 6-5. I think I was playing pretty good. It's bad luck for him. It's confidence for me."

Ancic's first two matches of the tournament had been tougher affairs, a four-setter won from behind and a five-setter won from behind before a relatively straight-forward win over Dominik Hrbaty earned the tie with Malisse. "It's getting better from match to match," he said.

Asked before the conclusion of last night's Henman-Philippoussis match whether he was confident of coping with a partisan crowd if he faced Henman, the world No 63 said: "Of course there's going to be a lot of support on his side. English people have been waiting a long time for him to win it.

"But it's just one of the areas you have to deal with in tennis. You have to deal with the crowd and be focused on the tennis."

Croatian tennis, with the progress of Ancic and compatriot Ivo Karlovic to this year's last 16 here, is in rude health. Never before in the open era have two Croatians made the fourth round in the same Grand Slam. Karolina Sprem's advance to the quarter-finals of the women's singles has also been another plus.

Simply by reaching yesterday's match, Ancic had equalled his best Grand Slam performance, having reached the same stage at the Australian Open last year. His next assignment takes him into new territory, although results this year have suggested an advance was coming.

He reached his first tour semi-final and final in Milan, only losing to Anthony Dupuyis after saving nine match points.

Malisse admitted it was hard having to end his Wimbledon campaign in such disappointing fashion. "I've had back a problem for a year, but then it started to get better," he said.

"But it started hurting at the French Open again, so I've had it for the last three weeks. "It's tough. It doesn't get any better when I'm playing. I'm doing a lot of exercise and it's tough if you have to play a lot of matches."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
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.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine