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Injury struck yet another player at the 2012 Internazionali BNL Dâ€™Italia as the last remaining Italian in the women's draw, Flavia Pennetta retired in the first set of her quarter-final against American Serena Williams to hand the thirteen-time Grand Slam champion a 17th straight victory on clay. Awaiting Serena in the semi-finals is Chinese superstar Li Na, who beat Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets in the other quarterfinal.
Pennetta, who had played some good tennis to reach the quarterfinals, was carrying the hopes of a nation as the expectant crowd hoped for an upset in the first quarter-final of the day. The Italian, though became the third player to pull out from this yearâ€™s event due to injury after Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka withdrew earlier this week. Pennetta cited a right wrist injury as the reason and received treatment on court when down 0-3 before throwing in the towel with the score at 0-4 and 0-40 down. Williams thus won her 17th straight match, ideally not in the way sheâ€™d have liked, and is two matches away from securing her third consecutive title on clay after wins in Charleston and Madrid coming into this tournament.
It will definitely not be easy going for the American in the semifinals though when she takes on the reigning French Open champion Li Na. The Chineses veteran recorded a 6-1, 7-6(4) win over Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in the other quarterfinal. Cibulkova had got a walkover through to the quarterfinals after Azarenka withdrew from the tournament and the lack of match practice showed in the first set with the Chinese wrapping it up 6-1. With Li going on to establish a 5-2 lead in the second set, it looked like a thrashing was on the cards before Cibulkova launched an impressive comeback, taking the set to a tiebreak where she came up just short, losing it 4-7 to give Li a place in the semifinals.
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. (14) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 61 76(4)
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 40 retd.
File Photograph Copyright: Madrid Open
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