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Back injury knocks out Wawrinka in quarters

AFP-JIJI

Local interest ended in dramatic fashion at the Swiss Open on Friday as second seed Stan Wawrinka joined compatriot Roger Federer as a back injury victim and out of the tournament.

Wawrinka had to quit after just over two hours as he trailed Spanish fifth seed Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 2-6, 4-3 after taking treatment before the start of the final game of their quarterfinal match.

Top seed Federer lost on Thursday in straight sets to German Daniel Brands, with the Swiss complaining of back spasms which had bothered him for more than a week.

Retirement was a bitter blow for Wawrinka, winner of the spring clay title in Lisbon and a Madrid Masters finalist against Rafael Nadal.

“I can’t say exactly when it happened,” said the world No. 10 of his back problem.

“I don’t know exactly but I definitely felt something back there during training last week.

“I’m so disappointed that it had to happen here in Gstaad, it almost seems like bad luck for me here.

Wawrinka said he has to get his back “looked at by doctors and then rest and take a decision on what to do next.”

He added: “This is a delicate part of the season: I’m playing well but I don’t want to risk an injury, I’ll just have to see how it responds to treatment.”

Lopez will play a Saturday semifinal against Dutchman Robin Haase, a winner over Marcel Granollers of Spain 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Victor Hanescu, the 2011 champion, ended the dream week of Brands with a 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal win on the high-altitude clay of this alpine village.

Brands took treatment on court three games into the second set on his way to his 70-minute loss.

Hanescu, ranked 54th to the 55 of Brands, won his 10th match at Gstaad, finishing with five aces and a break of serve per set.

Hanescu next faces sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny, a winner over fourth-seeded tournament debutant Juan Monaco 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).

Monaco was playing his sixth quarterfinal of the season, but was unable to stop Youzhny from reaching a second Gstaad semifinal in three years.

Wawrinka looked shaky from the start against Lopez, 31, a 2006 finalist who won the first set with an ace and withstood a storm as his Swiss opponent fought back.

Wawrinka appeared in trouble after leveling at a set apiece, with Lopez having saved six set points in the second set.

The Swiss dropped serve for 1-2 on back-to-back double-faults in the third set as his conditioning began to worsen.

Lopez was fully in control by the time Wawrinka called for the trainer after the seventh game.

He gave up two points into the next game, with Lopez improving to 20-11 this season.

Radwanska into semis

AP
STANFORD, California

Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska held off determined American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3 on Friday night to reach the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic.

Radwanska, ranked fourth in the world and seeking her third title of 2013 after triumphs in Auckland and Sydney, had to battle to subdue her 40th-ranked opponent in 2 hours and 14 minutes.

After Lepchenko had pocketed the second set to even the match, the two traded breaks in the first two games of the third. Lepchenko appeared to gain the upper hand when she broke Radwanska to love for a 3-2 lead, but Poland’s Radwanska won the next four games to capture the match.

Radwanska next faces fourth-seeded American Jamie Hampton, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Russian Vera Dushevina.