Tomljanovic in French Open injury scare
Australian No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic has been forced to pull out with an injury concern during her quarter-final at the Morocco Open, casting a cloud over her French Open preparations.
Tomljanovic, with her right thigh heavily strapped, never looked happy with her movement during the 20 minutes she was on court against in-form Hungarian Anna Bondar in Rabat on Thursday and withdrew when 5-1 down.
The prospect of an all-Australian semi-final already extinguished, Astra Sharma followed her compatriot Tomljanovic onto the clay court, only to be comprehensively beaten by American Claire Liu 6-4 6-1 in another last-eight tie.
After Bondar had served an ace to take the sixth game in the day's opening match at Rabat's Club Des Cheminots, Tomljanovic called for the trainer and immediately afterwards decided to retire.
It wasn't immediately clear whether she had made the decision purely as a precaution with Roland Garros just four days away.
But it was a grievous disappointment for Tomljanovic, who had even been talking earlier in one of her favourite events about the prospect of lifting her first tour title in Rabat.
A previous finalist and semi-finalist at the event, Tomljanovic had looked good when beating Anna Schmiedlova 7-5 6-2 on Tuesday to progress to her second quarter-final of the season after reaching the last-eight in Istanbul last month.
"I love coming back here to Rabat - it's my third time - and I've always had such a great time and I'm still here. If I could choose where my first title would be, I wouldn't mind it to be here," Tomjlanovic had said.
"But there's a very long way until then so I'm just taking it one step at a time."
Tomljanovic's disappointment meant an earlier start than expected for Australia's No.4 Sharma, who, on court immediately afterwards, suffered her second heavy defeat in less than three weeks to the 21-year-old prospect Liu.
Sharma, who'd only managed to take three games off Liu in the recent St Malo Open, put up more of a fight in the opening set but her game unravelled in the second stanza, as she coughed up 40 unforced errors throughout the 80-minute contest.
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