Petkovic suffers knee injury at Hopman Cup

Updated 30 December 2012

Petkovic suffers knee injury at Hopman Cup

PERTH: Andrea Petkovic’s 2013 campaign has suffered a potentially catastrophic setback before the New Year has even begun, with the German struck down by a knee injury at the mixed teams Hopman Cup yesterday.
The injury-plagued Petkovic appeared hampered by a right knee problem late in the opening stanza of her singles match against Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty, but still managed to win the first set 6-4.
The former top 10 player sought treatment at the end of the first set and broke down in tears while being attended by the trainer.
With her right knee heavily strapped she returned to the court, but the 25-year-old did not even manage to play another point, instead retiring from the match in tears, throwing her upcoming Australian Open campaign into serious doubt.
Petkovic had been ranked as high as ninth in the world in 2011, but slipped outside the top 100 this year due to injuries, with back and ankle problems seeing her end the year at 126 in the rankings after playing just 23 matches for the season.
She had surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in 2008 and last year tore the meniscus in the same knee.
Her retirement handed Australia a 3-0 win in the Group A tie, with the Germans forfeiting the mixed doubles and Bernard Tomic earlier beating Tommy Haas in three sets.
In the men’s singles, veteran Haas did everything but beat the 20-year-old Tomic, the Australian eventually prevailing 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-5 in a match the German generally controlled.
The German, ranked 21st at age 34, had a seemingly insurmountable 6-1 lead in the first set tie break, but then inexplicably lost the next seven points to hand the Australian the set.

Haas levelled the match and appeared to be cruising through the deciding set after an early break, until he served for the match at 5-4.
Tomic, ranked 52nd, broke back to level the set, held serve and then broke Haas again to take the match.
“I don’t know how I got out of that tiebreak,” Tomic said after the win.
Earlier on the opening day, the Spanish pairing of Anabel Madinah Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco notched a 2-1 win over South Africa in sweltering heat.
The singles rubbers were split in the Group B tie, with Madinah Garrigues beating Chanelle Scheepers and Kevin Anderson upsetting Verdasco before the Spaniards proved too strong in the deciding mixed doubles.
The fourth seeds for the eight-nation tournament, Verdasco and Madinah Garrigues, won the doubles in a match tiebreak, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 10-8 on a day where the mercury reached 40C (104F).
Anderson notched his first win over Verdasco in three attempts in the opening men’s singles match, despite being ranked 13 places below the Spaniard at 37.
The South African had chances to break the remodeled Verdasco serve in the first set, but made amends in the tiebreak and then went on to win in straight sets, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, in one hour and 43 minutes.
Madinah Garrigues, ranked 50th, had too many shots for the 60th-ranked Scheepers, the two players trading blows from the back of the court in some lengthy rallies.
Scheepers had won their only previous encounter and held 11 break points to the Spaniard’s eight during the match, but Madinah Garrigues came from a break down in the first set to win 6-4, 6-2.

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

Updated 10 December 2019

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

  • Injury-hit Reds have consistently leaked goals despite streaking clear at the top of Premier League

LONDON: Liverpool travel to Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to the confident Austrian champions to guard against an embarrassing Champions League group stage exit for the holders.

Jurgen Klopp's men are used to getting through to the knockout stages the hard way. In each of the past two seasons they have needed home wins to secure a place in the last 16 before going on to make the final.

However, the specter of a free-scoring Salzburg, led by the Champions League's top scorer in Erlin Braut Haaland spells trouble for an injury-hit Liverpool backline that has consistently leaked goals this season despite streaking clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds' recorded a first clean sheet in 14 games in Saturday's 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but lost another center back as Dejan Lovren limped off in the first half.

Should the Croatian miss the trip to Austria, Joe Gomez will be Klopp's only fit partner for Virgil van Dijk in central defense.

Van Dijk narrowly missed out to Lionel Messi in the battle for the Ballon d'Or last week in recognition of the transformative effect he has had on Liverpool's fortunes over the past two years.

But even the towering Dutchman has been incapable of stopping the steady flow of goals against in recent months.

Injuries have meant there has been a constant rotation of Lovren, Gomez and Joel Matip alongside Van Dijk, while the attacking impetus offered by fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold leaves space in behind to be exploited.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker also missed the first two months of the season due to a calf injury to further unsettle the backline.

The Brazilian is now back, but another injury to Fabinho has robbed the back four of the best player to protect them in the holding midfield role.

"I forgot how it feels, to be honest," said Klopp on finally ending the long wait for a clean sheet at the weekend.

"It's great, we should have them more often. It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys — "clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet."

"Obviously everybody was desperate for that, now we have it so let's have it more often.

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday."

That is easier said than done as Liverpool know from their first meeting with Jesse Marsch's men in October.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to another Anfield win in the Champions League as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but Salzburg hit back to level at 3-3 before Mohamed Salah's winner ensured Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller.

Salzburg have scored 87 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, 28 of which have come from Norwegian wonderkid Haaland in just 21 appearances.

The 19-year-old started on the bench when the sides met at Anfield due to injury, but came on to inspire the visitors' revival in the second half and scored one of his eight Champions League goals.

"He's not the only threat from Salzburg but he's a proper one," said Klopp of the danger posed by Haaland ahead of the sides' first clash.

Salzburg need to win to make the last 16 on their first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

A point would be enough for Liverpool to progress, but they need to win to secure top spot in Group E ahead of Napoli.

Given Liverpool's paucity of clean sheets and Salzburg's thirst for goals, attack would appear to be the best form of defencse for the European champions.