Daniilidou exits, troubled by injury

Greek tennis player Eleni Daniilidou was knocked out of the Canberra International tennis tournament in the Australian capital – a warmup event for the upcoming Australian Open – in a second-round match yesterday against Israeli opponent Shahar Peer. The Greek player, currently ranked 96th in the world after reaching as high as 14th place a few seasons ago, lost in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2, to Peer, seeded fourth. Daniilidou was troubled by a shoulder injury. She called for a trainer early in the second set for an assessment of her injury. Considering the game’s flow, the injury appeared to affect Daniildou’s game. She began strongly to establish a 5-1 lead in the first set. But the ambitious young Israeli rebounded to go a set up. Then, in the second set, Daniilidou’s game faded fast allowing her opponent to cruise to a 6-2 win for her straight-sets victory. The young Greek player has struggled over the past year or so, as reflected by her downward slide in the rankings A winner of three WTA Tour titles, she has reached the fourth round in Grand Slam tournaments three times – at Wimbledon in 2002, the Australian Open in 2003, and the US Open in 2004. Even so, she has not lost her ability to provide major upsets, even when seemingly down and out. At Wimbledon last summer, Daniilidou eliminated Justine Henin-Hardenne in the first round after the Belgian player had gone to the UK as the reigning French Open champion. In other games at the Canberra International tennis tournament, top-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain easily advanced to the third round with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Belarussian qualifier Tatiana Poutchek. It was a mixed day for the seeded players, with sixth-seeded Colombian Catalina Castano registering a win as fifth-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy and ninth-seeded Virginie Razzano of France lost. Medina Garrigues, who saved three match points in her first-round match with Swiss qualifier Emmanuelle Gagliardi, said her game was improving. «The first match is always difficult, particularly when you play a qualifier who has already played two or three matches,» she said. «I was lucky yesterday but it gave me some confidence. I played much better today but the match was closer than the score.» Melinda Czink of Hungary pulled off the comeback of the day with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over Razzano. Czink, a finalist at Canberra last year, trailed 4-0 in the second set before staging her revival in a match lasting more than three hours. Castano needed a first-set tiebreaker to beat Italian Tathiana Garbin 7-6 (4), 6-4, while Vinci was beaten 7-5, 6-0 by Aiko Nakamura of Japan. Germany’s Julia Schruff struggled early against Austrian Yvonne Meusburger before winning 6-7 (0), 6-4, 6-1 while Cho Yoon-jeong of South Korea beat Finnish qualifier Emma Laine 6-4, 6-4. Medina Garrigues set up a quarterfinal with Ekaterina Bychkova of Russia, who advanced after her second-round opponent, Russian Anastassia Rodionova, was forced to withdraw with a left knee injury. (AP, Kathimerini)

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