World number three Stanislas Wawrinka joined fellow Swiss Roger Federer on the scrapheap at the ATP-WTA Rome Masters on Thursday as back pain resulted in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 loss to 15th seed Tommy Haas.
Germany’s Haas ended with seven aces to eight for Wawrinka, who could not hold onto leads throughout the two-hour contest.
Wawrinka said that after playing a match in the chill two days earlier, he started having back problems.
“It was difficult to give the intensity,” said Australian Open champion Wawrinka. “I know my back, I just need some rest - maybe two days is enough. But I’m not worried about it.”
Meanwhile, Andy Murray, who quit the event with back problems a year ago and eventually required surgery, closed out a welcome win over Jurgen Melzer with his sixth ace for a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 result, which puts him into his second straight clay quarter-final after Madrid a week ago.
Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic reached his first Rome quarter-final with a defeat of French 11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 and Jeremy Chardy kept up his momentum by defeating Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2.
Li gets back at Stosur
In women’s play, Chinese second seed Li Na defeated Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals, turning the momentum in a long-running rivalry.
Stosur, a 2010 Roland Garros finalist, had beaten world number two Li in all six of their previous meetings going back to 2007. Li will play her quarter-final against Italian tenth seed Sara Errani, who beat Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska put out Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, 6-4, 6-1, while Ana Ivanovic handed Maria Sharapova her first loss of the spring clay season as she beat the Russian eighth seed 6-1, 6-4.
Sharapova had won back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and Madrid, compiling a dozen straight victories.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2014.
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