Update 7:35 pm. Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Brisbane International following an ankle injury sustained in her second-round match versus Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski.
“I’m disappointed to have to pull out of the Brisbane International,” Williams said.
“I have been to hospital and it has been confirmed that I have a left ankle sprain that I probably shouldn’t play on. I’m going to take a couple of days off – not too many – and see how I feel. I’m still hopeful of playing the Australian Open.
“It was such an unexpected end to the tournament; I didn’t expect to be getting an MRI today. I’ve had a great time here in Brisbane – the tournament is great, the fans are fantastic and hopefully I’ll see them again next year.”
Match report coverage from earlier today, prior to the withdrawal:
Fifth seed Serena Williams said “not again” after fighting through a troubling ankle injury late in the second set to secure a 6-2 6-4 win over Serbian youngster Bojana Jovanovski today.
Williams was serving for the set at 5-3 in the second when she fell to the ground after rolling her ankle, not moving for an extended period of time. After the medical team strapped her left ankle, Williams continued the match, using her power to break Jovanovski’s serve and win the match 6-4 in the second.
Always having a guard on her left foot—she has had surgery on that foot twice since July 2010 when she stepped on broken glass—she took it off before the second set because it was causing her pain and couldn’t believe her luck. But awaiting scans tonight, she’s keeping positive about playing on in the tournament.
“I was like ‘no way’. As long as I was able to walk, so that’s a little better,” Williams said.
“I’m always thinking I can play on but at the same time I don’t want to stress it out right now, so I’m kind of just going to play it by ear and see how I feel when I wake up in the morning.”
Driven away from the grounds in a golf buggy, the ever-entertaining Williams was able to look at the positives of her night if news doesn’t happen to go her way, offering a solution in a comforting friend.
“If it’s not OK I’m definitely talking to my friend Jack tonight, so we’ll see,” she laughed. “He loves ice too.”
When Williams went to the ground, her usually supportive mother Oracene Price was surprisingly smiling in the players’ box, but Williams didn’t take it too seriously.
“She don’t have it all upstairs either,” she laughed. “Maybe that’s where I get it from. What a shame. Laugh now mum!” she joked.
Williams kicked off where she left the 6-1 6-1 first round win over Jovanovski at the US Open last year, powering her way to a 3-0 lead after 15 minutes as the Serbian tried futilely to match it with the 13-time Grand Slam champion.
After a barrage of return winners, Jovanovski looked anxious on serve as her first serve percentage became critical. Despite the Serbian’s penetrating groundstrokes reaping some rewards when she managed to break Williams’s serve for 5-2, the American closed out the opening set 6-2 after just 33 minutes of play.
Jovanovski put everything she had behind each shot, but Williams proved why she dominated the game for so long, speeding to another 5-1 lead in the second set. But, when a double fault gifted the 20-year-old Serbian a break back, she managed to claw the score back to 5-3 as Williams looked frustrated by her serve.
It was deuce when Williams went down while attempting to change directions, giving Jovanovski break point. But, despite struggling to push off to that left wing, Williams showed her class, breaking the Jovanovski serve for the sixth time to close out the match 6-4.
“I felt I was hitting pretty good. My serve was off and that was really frustrating me. I felt like I was really moving well and so that’s the only thing with this I just want to make sure I can continue to move well because that’s a really big strength of mine,” she said.
“I only played one match but I could already see the improvements in my second match and I could already feel like in my third match I would be doing different things and doing better.”
With world No.24 Daniela Hantuchova waiting for her in the quarterfinals, Williams knows it’ll be a tough match if she’s not at her best—despite holding an 8-1 head-to-head record against her—but she’s staying positive that scans tonight go her way.
“If my movement’s not right it’s going to be difficult. Daniela’s a good player,” she said.
“I’m going to have all of the above [an MRI and an X-ray] and just kind of see and make sure it’s OK. I’m anticipating it’ll be OK.”