Injured wrist forces Youzhny out of Aussie Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny withdrew from his scheduled third-round match at the Australian Open on Saturday, giving Poland’s Lukasz Kubot a walkover into the second week of the season’s first Grand Slam tournament.
The 20th-seeded Youzhny said he hurt his right wrist in a grueling five-set win over Richard Gasquet in the first round, when he rallied from two sets down in a match that featured three tiebreakers.
The 27-year-old Russian only conceded four games in a straights-sets, second-round win over Jan Hajek but was unable to practice on Friday and had medical advice to withdraw from the tournament or risk an extended injury layoff.
Youzhny, who reached the 2006 U.S. Open semifinals and was a quarterfinalist at Melbourne Park in 2008, said he was unable to hit a backhand because of the wrist pain.
“I had treatment every day and I went to the doctor each day,” Youzhny said. “I have some anti-pain pills and I have done everything I can for these days but it doesn’t help,” he said.
The win over Frenchman Gasquet “was my first match in the season after a big rest and the doctors just said the tendons and muscles are tired. It’s tough for me now because actually I was playing well.”
The walkover gave Kubot his best run at a Grand Slam event, improving on his third-round exit at the 2006 U.S. Open.
“On one side it’s very good to save some energy and win matches like this, especially under tough conditions like in Australia,” said Kubot, who finished last year with a No. 101 ranking. “But on the other side it’s bad luck for opponent which is getting injured in the beginning of days.”
In the next round, he’ll face either 2008 champion Novak Djokovic or Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
“I have nothing to lose against those guys. Those guys have to go and beat me,” he said.
“Of course, it will not be easy for me because I’m not that experienced, but on the other hand I have nothing to lose here.”