Serena hoping for quick recovery from final pain

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 13 Aug 2019

A tearful Serena Williams saw her US Open preparation thrown into disarray as back spasms forced her out of the WTA Toronto final after just four games, handing Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu the title.

Andreescu, 19, was up 3-1 with a break of serve when 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams decided she couldn't continue.

"I just knew," said Williams, adding she'd undergone hours of treatment before the match to combat the back spasms she'd first felt in a semi-final win Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova. "I knew I wasn't going to be able to continue."

Andreescu approached her chair, offering words of encouragement and a consolatory hug as the 37-year-old American tried to fight back tears.

Williams said the spasms started during her come-from-behind win over Bouzkova "and it just got worse ... to a point where I couldn't sleep and I couldn't really move."

She remained optimistic that she would be ready to play when the US Open starts on August 26. "I've had this before and it's, like, 24, 36 hours where I'm just in crazy spasm and then it's gone," said Williams. "I have to wait and see."

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters after lifting the Montreal title with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Russian Daniil Medvedev.

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