Will it ever end? Just when Serena Williams gets her game together, she endures another knee injury. Today, at the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Year-End Championships, she came onto the court looking--at least from the waist down--like an extra from an old mummy movie. She was coy about it in the pre-match interview, preferring to mumble "preventive." I'll say. Only not preventive enough. After retiring at the end of the first set, Williams was taken to a Madrid hospital with her knee hurting her quite a bit. The match went to Anna Chakvetadze, who won the first set 6-4, and who--her opponent's injury aside--was looking pretty good.
After getting an MRI, Williams has decided to withdraw from the Madrid event, which means that first alternate Marion Bartoli will step in and play, of all people, Justine Henin, in the next match. Bartoli brilliantly defeated Henin in the Wimbledon semifinals. (Commentators, are you listening? Henin did not have a "meltdown" at Wimbledon--she got her ass kicked.) Henin and Bartoli very likely would have met in the finals of Zurich Open a few weeks ago, but Bartoli had to retire from a match against Tatiana Golovin that she was winning.
Of course, given Henin's current level of play and Bartoli's unscheduled appearance, there is little chance that Bartoli will prevail in Madrid. She will inherit Serena Williams' 0-1 record, which means that if things go as expected, she will be 0-2 after tomorrow's match. It is a pity that Bartoli was not given the chance to go to Madrid with the other players, rather than get called in after Williams' elaborate preventive bandaging failed her.