Victoria Azarenka pulls out of the Dubai Duty Free Championships

 

Dubai

Victoria Azarenka has won all her 17 matches this year, but the season is already taking its toll on the new world No 1. Having injured an ankle en route to winning the Qatar Open last weekend, the Australian Open champion today pulled out of the Dubai Duty Free Championships here just hours before she was due to play her first match, against Julia Goerges.

"It's just too much of a risk," Azarenka said. "It was already hurting in the semi-final last week. In the final I tried to do everything to be able to play. I took a lot of painkillers, but apparently it didn't get better. I had to adjust my movement and compromise in other parts of my body, which started to hurt."

Azarenka, who expects to return in Indian Wells next month, is the fourth top 10 player to pull out of the tournament this week through illness or injury following the withdrawals of Petra Kvitova, Li Na and Vera Zvonareva. Dominika Cibulkova, the world No 16, also retired mid-match with a hamstring injury.

"The game has become so physical," Azarenka said. "Sometimes it's really tough on the body to play week after week. For example, these tournaments back to back, with such a tough field, it takes a lot out of you physically. It's just tough."

Agnieszka Radwanska, who reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Israel's Shahar Peer, believes that one of the reasons for the current spate of injuries is that some players work too hard over the winter.

"Sometimes in the off-season the girls are doing too much," Radwanska said. "You think you have two months off and can work hard, but then suddenly you have some tough matches at the beginning of the year and it's too much for the body. In the head everything is fine, but for the body it's not. You cannot really cheat the body. If it's painful, it's painful."

Sabine Lisicki, another quarter-finalist thanks to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Iveta Benesova, agreed. "I think the problem is that the season is from January until November," she said. "You still want to improve so you're practising a lot and pushing your body. I think it's also a very fine line to see how much you can do off the court, still be fit, and not to do too much to get injured."

With so many top players falling by the wayside, organisers were no doubt relieved that Caroline Wozniacki safely negotiated her passage into the quarter-finals. The 21-year-old Dane, who lost her world No 1 ranking to Azarenka last month and suffered a surprise early defeat to Lucie Safarova in Doha last week, beat Romania's Simona Halep 6-2, 6-3. Wozniacki now plays Ana Ivanovic, who beat Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 7-6.

News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
newsBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
films
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
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.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game