China Open, Beijing
[CR4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. [CR22] Sara Errani (ITA)
As the 2015 season winds down, the biggest worry for many tennis players is injury. How do you avoid getting injured when you play a tournament practically every week? All athletes have to make sure that they are physically fit, warm up their muscles, eat properly and stay properly hydrated. Yet, even the fittest tennis player is susceptible to injury. You lunge unexpectedly for a ball or you miss timed a shot and before you know it, you have pulled a muscle or twisted an ankle. Last week we saw two matches where injury almost cost the eventual winner the match. Then there was the final where one player could not continue and had to retire. Today was another match affected by injury as Kvitova had some issues with her left shoulder requiring a medical timeout. Nevertheless, credit Errani for remaining focused and serving out the match to upset last year’s finalist, 7-5, 6-4. In six encounters, Errani had never defeated Kvitova. However, their last three matches have gone to a third set; therefore, she was getting close, so perhaps today’s victory was not totally unexpected.
Halep has been complaining of fatigue for a while now. She has also been battling leg, ankle and Achilles tendon issues for a few months now and has lost matches or retired due to these problems. Maybe it would be a wise decision to end the season early and give her body time to recover. I do not see the value of playing in a tournament the next week if you had an injury in the previous week. It is not enough time to fully heal. It may also create further damage as you compensate for one injury, you shift your normal alignment and something else gets hurt. It also distracts you during the match as you ponder whether or not your body is ready to be stressed. Perhaps Halep will end her season early like Serena Williams to recover for the 2016 season. Today she lost another match due to injury and retired at 5-4. This was Arruabarrena’s first victory over Halep. With Halep’s loss, both the number one and two seeds are out of the China Open.