Venus Williams lasted just seven points in her third round match on Friday at the Australian Open, forced to withdraw due to injury from a Grand Slam singles match for the first time in her career.

After losing the first game to Andrea Petkovic of Germany and trailing in the second, Williams stretched to her right to return a serve, hit the ball and then cried out in pain, clutching toward her stomach on her right side. It was soon clear that she couldn’t continue.

“Obviously I just couldn’t play,” Williams said. “I couldn’t move, it was too painful.”

Her right thigh was already heavily bandaged from an injury she sustained in the first set of her second round match on Wednesday, when she beat Sandra Zahlavova in three sets. Afterward, Williams said the injury was in her “psoas” muscle, which flexes the hip and spinal column.

“The last 48 hours, I just did as much pain management as I could,” she said. “A lot of times when you play, you get that adrenalin and that blocks pain. I just didn’t get enough of that today. I was hoping for some magic that I could recover.”

Williams waved to the Rod Laver Arena crowd and appeared to be on the verge of tears as she walked off the court.

“It’s super disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being,” Venus Williams said. “But I have peace of mind that I really gave more than my best to be out there.” “I’m just going to focus obviously on getting healthy and coming back, because I love tennis and I’ve got a lot of great tennis in me. I love my job, so no end in sight.”

Petkovic was surprised by the sudden end to the match. “I feel very weird about how the things went,” said Petkovic. “It’s a pity, and I feel very sorry. I just hope she gets better - she’s such a great champion.”

Keywords: Australian Open

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