DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters) – Monica Seles advanced to her second final of the year on Friday when defending champion Amelie Mauresmo was forced to retire from the Dubai Open with a right thigh injury.
Second seeded Mauresmo, who was playing only her second tournament in four months after suffering a cartilage injury in her right knee, had to withdraw from the Antwerp tournament last week with a left abductor injury. This time it was her right.
“I aggravated the abductor during the match,” she said. “The game before I left the court, I really felt something strong. I tried having some more tape, but it didn’t work.
“There is no point in staying on the court if you can’t play. I couldn’t really move the way I like to move and I didn’t want to aggravate the situation.
“But it’s very disappointing, and not just giving up the title. It was a good match and she was playing good tennis. She was very aggressive and taking the ball early and returning well.”
The injury was not entirely a surprise, following a medical opinion she received after injuring her left abductor muscle while reaching the Paris indoor Open final two weeks ago.
“The doctor told me when I had it on the other side that it often happens when you come back after a few months without competition, that you have muscle problems here and there,” she said.
“I will stop tomorrow in Paris and try to see the doctor and make sure I handle this well before going to America.”
The semi-final had been delicately balanced until Mauresmo’s 63rd-minute retirement. Playing in blustery and humid conditions, it was fourth-seeded Seles who impressed with her fierce groundstrokes, but her French opponent countered with some spectacular backhands.
“It’s definitely not the way you like to win a match,” said Seles, who lost to Mauresmo when they last played at the same stage last year.
“We were so close in that first set. She’s tough to play because she doesn’t give you the same ball. You have to keep moving and I’m just really happy that I stayed focused out there.
“There were some great points. I just think I played well generally. I wasn’t making to many unforced errors, and just kept the ball in play.”