Another seed cracks

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

At least Svetlana Kuznetsova had the dignity to make her exit from the Rogers Cup the old-fashioned way.

She got beat.

But even if the third-seeded Kuznetsova had won her match yesterday, her sore back likely would have prevented her from playing again this week.

So what else is new, huh?

Players continued to drop like flies yesterday at the Rexall Centre at York University.

Kuznetsova, a 20-year-old Russian and the defending U.S. Open champion, was in noticeable pain during her 7-6, 7-6 loss to Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

"I think I should have stopped playing," Kuznetsova said. "Something kept me out there. When a match is so close, it's difficult to just say, 'That's it.' "

Kuznetsova felt her back go out late in the first set.

"I called for a trainer, but I knew there was no way to help with this injury," she said. "I just didn't know what to do.

"I couldn't play my backhand. My forehand, I could move only the hand. I couldn't turn my body. I couldn't run. But I just couldn't pull out. I never have done that in my life."

As always is the case in the world of sports, one person's misfortune is another person's opportunity.

"This was one of the best wins of my career so far," said Dulko, 20, who is ranked 35th in the world.

"(Kuznetsova) was injured but she still fought to the last point. It's a really big win for me because I get to be in the quarter-finals of this big tournament. It's really nice."

Kuznetsova admitted she probably would have been forced to quit had a third set been required, because of the pain.

And speaking of pain ... welcome to the Rogers Cup!

Before yesterday, the tourney already had lost Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Mary Pierce and Serena Williams.

Then Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, the 12th seed, withdrew before her match against seventh-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium yesterday due to a strained right pectoral muscle.

"It started to hurt during the doubles match (on Wednesday) and was worse (yesterday)," Ivanovic said in a statement. "The best thing I can do now is get treatment and hopefully be ready for the U.S. Open (later this month)."

No. 9 Anastasia Myskina of Russia rolled her left ankle during her match against Shinobu Asagoe of Japan. However, Myskina got her sprained ankle taped up and posted a 7-6, 7-5 win.

Myskina admitted her status is up in the air for her match today against Dulko.

"I can't really say yes or no," Myskina said. "(My ankle) is definitely not good. Hopefully by (today) it's going to be okay."

Finally, Na Li of China couldn't finish her match against sixth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia because of a sprained right ankle.

So Petrova, Clijsters, Dulko and Myskina (for now) remain alive in this event. Joining them in the quarter-finals are No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo of France, No. 4 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, No. 14 Flavia Pennetta of Italy and unseeded 16-year-old Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic.

The way things are going, is anyone going to be left standing for the final on Sunday?


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