Ivanovic bows out injured
Kim Clijsters hugs a disappointed Ana Ivanovic. (AP)
Mason - Kim Clijsters reached the final of the Cincinnati Open on Saturday when Ana Ivanovic hurt her left foot only 12 minutes into their semifinal and left the court in tears.
The fourth-seeded Belgian will be well-rested when she plays her third final of the year. Ivanovic's injury allowed Clijsters to get a break from the oppressive afternoon heat - an on-court thermometer reached 120 degrees F (49 C) during the week.
Russians Maria Sharapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were set to play in the other semifinal late Saturday.
The first semifinal ended after only 25 points.
Clijsters broke Ivanovic's serve to go up 2-1. In the next game, the Serb appeared to twist her left foot while setting up to make a
forehand return from the baseline. She hit one more point during the rally -another forehand - then dropped her racket and bent over
"All of a sudden on that one shot, I felt something, you know, crack a little bit," Ivanovic said. "I was very scared."
Ivanovic straightened up, cupped her hands behind her head and winced in pain. She walked gingerly to her chair and took a medical
timeout, removing her shoe. A trainer rubbed the inside of the foot, got the foot taped and Ivanovic tried to continue.
After the second point - a serve that Ivanovic didn't even bother to chase - the match was over.
"I tried a bit of tape, but I could not put any weight on it, and there was no point in me continuing," she said.
Ivanovic cried as she hobbled toward the net, where Clijsters embraced her with a hug. Then, she left to have the foot examined
by a doctor.
Ivanovic had the front of her foot taped because of blisters to start the match, but said there was no problem until the rally.
"Just on that one forehand when I went to step around it, I just felt like pain all of a sudden, so much pain in my foot and I couldn't step on it anymore," she said.
It was another setback in a disappointing season for the former No. 1-ranked player. She was limited by an injured right shoulder
early in the season and had trouble getting back in form. She hasn't reached the final at any tournament this year, and came to
Cincinnati ranked No. 62.
She had a good week, reaching only her third semifinal of the year. The foot injury left the rest of her disappointing season in
"I played some really great tennis, and I was very excited about this match," she said.
Clijsters has turned Cincinnati into her comeback city in each of the last two years.
Last year, Clijsters returned to tennis in Cincinnati after taking more than two years off to start a family and recharge. She got her game together quickly, reached the quarterfinals and built upon the momentum, winning the US Open title.
This year, she was sidelined for nearly two months after tearing muscles in her left foot, forcing her to miss the French Open. She
took a break from tournament play after Wimbledon, then showed up in Cincinnati looking to get her game together again.
Her path to the final opened up when Serena and Venus Williams both withdrew because of injuries before the tournament started,
and five of the top eight seeds were knocked out on Thursday.