Lisicki leaves on stretcher at French Open
Overcome by dizziness and muscle cramps during a 2 1/2-hour match, German qualifier Sabine Lisicki was helped onto a stretcher and taken off Court 1 at the French Open on Wednesday after losing to Vera Zvonareva 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round.
A trainer examined the 21-year-old Lisicki at least twice during third-set changeovers, even wrapping a black gauge around her right arm to check her blood pressure.
When the match ended shortly before 9 p.m., Lisicki didn't go shake hands, instead crouching down on court. Zvonareva – the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year – walked around the net and checked on Lisicki, putting a hand on her shoulder. A sobbing Lisicki then lay down on a towel placed on the red clay, and a trainer massaged her back until the stretcher arrived.
As she was carried off, Lisicki covered her face with her left hand. She met with a doctor, and was to get additional medical tests Thursday, the tournament said.
''I started cramping at the end of the second set, and this continued in the third,'' Lisicki said in a statement released by the WTA. ''From 4-2 in the third set, I began to feel dizzy and had problems seeing the ball clearly. At no point did I think of retiring, and I kept fighting until the end.''
Lisicki, a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2009, held serve for a 5-2 lead in the third set and in the next game was one point away from winning the match. But she sent a forehand return long there and never again held a match point, dropping the last five games.
After getting broken while serving for the match at 5-3, Lisicki asked to see a trainer. During an extended break, she ate an energy bar and banana and drank liquids; Zvonareva bounced around at the baseline to stay warm, then eventually took some practice serves.
When action resumed, the third-seeded Russian won eight of the next nine points to go up 6-5. Across the net, Lisicki began crying. She did keep playing, though, and managed to fend off two match points, including the second with a forehand winner.
But Lisicki barely sent a backhand wide at the end of a 22-stroke exchange, then crouched down, nearly taking a seat on the court. On Zvonareva's third match point, a backhand sailed long off Lisicki's racket.
''I hope she feels OK. I heard she's feeling OK now. She's seeing a doctor,'' Zvonareva said.
''That's what happens sometimes. It's part of the sport,'' Zvonareva added. ''No matter what, I had to keep doing my job.''