Safin succumbs to neck injury in Washington opener
21 minutes ago
By Simon Cambers
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Marat Safin
’s U.S. Open preparations suffered a setback when the former world number one was forced to retire from his first round match at the ATP event in Washington with a neck injury on Tuesday.
The Russian sixth seed lost the first set of his match against Italian Fabio Fognini
7-5 and then decided to quit.
Safin had looked in fine form when he surged into a 3-0 lead but after dropping his serve in the fifth game, the double grand slam winner requested an injury timeout to receive treatment on his neck.
With his flexibility restricted and his service speed well down, Safin struggled for rhythm and was broken again in a protracted 11th game to give Fognini a 6-5 lead.
The world number 82 held to love in the next game to take the set before Safin decided he was unfit to continue.
Fognini will now play another Russian, Igor Kunitsyn
, for a place in the quarter-finals while Safin will be hoping the injury recovers in time for the start of the U.S. Open on August 25.