Indian Wells: Serena Williams pulled out of her Indian Wells semi-final, 14 years after her sister Venus withdrew at the same stage to spark a fan uproar that led to a Williams boycott of the event.
Serena withdrew moments before her scheduled semi-final match on Friday night with a right knee injury, ending her hopes for a storybook finish after she made the decision several months ago to finally return to the joint WTA and ATP tournament.
Serena Williams. Pic/AFP
Ironically, Venus also pulled out of her semi-final match in 2001 with a knee injury. Serena strode out onto the court to deliver the news in person to the Tennis Garden fans, who had just watched Jelena Jankovic beat Sabine Lisicki in the first women’s semi-final.
“A couple of days ago at my practice I injured my knee,” Williams told the crowd. “Today it was a struggle to walk.”
Crowd support now
Unlike 14 years ago when she was heckled and booed in the final against Kim Clijsters, the crowd stood and applauded Serena as she spoke. There were one or two scattered boos, but they were drowned out by the loud cheering. Serena said she had an MRI scan and doctors told her she suffered a strain in her quadriceps tendon.
Serena’s withdrawal means that third seed Simona Halep advanced to Sunday’s final. She’ll face Jankovic, who rallied to beat Lisicki 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Jankovic, who won the hardcourt event in 2010, will face Simona Halep who advanced on a walkover after world number one Serena Williams pulled out with an injury.