Friedsam cut down by injury at Open

In an Australian Open already chockful with drama, add the name Anna-Lena Friedsam.

The 21-year-old German arrived at Melbourne Park with a world ranking of 99 and the unflattering record of having won only two of her eight grand slam matches.

But Friedsam defied that record to charge into a fourth-round clash with No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

The German looked set to cause yet another boilover when she led 5-2 in the deciding set on Sunday evening.

Then the real drama started.

She dropped the next two games before calling a medical timeout to have strapping applied to an injured left thigh.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Friedsam then suffered serious cramping in her right leg, severely compromising her ability to move around the court or get any power on her serve.

Crying tears of frustration and pain, she was all but powerless to prevent Radwanska sweeping through the last five games to win 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 7-5.

“I know what a cramp is – I know what it’s like,” said Radwanska.

“I’ve never had that during the match, but definitely it hurts, it’s painful.

“Of course, it’s hard to see that.

“But on the other hand I want to win the match, so you keep going.”

Australian Daria Gavrilova had her own final-set meltdown on Sunday night, but in her case it was all mental.

Even when she held a 2-0 lead in the deciding set of her fourth-round clash with Carla Suarez Navarro, it was clear that Gavrilova was rattled.

And it only got worse – much worse – as the No.10 seed from Spain rattled off the last six games to win 0-6 6-3 6-2.

Gavrilova was quick to apologise after the match.

“It wasn’t great and I’m very disappointed with myself. I was being a little girl,” she said.

“I played very well in the first set. I guess I was starting to overcook it a little bit in the second and got very emotional.

“I was just going crazy.”

Until Sunday, much of the drama had been taking place in the stands, rather than on the court, with several matches halted due to spectators requiring medical assistance.

The most notable occasion included Ana Ivanovic’s coach Nigel Sears, who is also Andy Murray’s father-in-law.

Sears collapsed and was hospitalised during Ivanovic’s third-round clash with Madison Keys, which was halted for 45 minutes.

Upon learning of the incident, Murray cancelled all of his post-match media duties and rushed to hospital.

A doubles match involving crack Australian pairing Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth was held up for half an hour on Sunday after Groth’s mother tumbled down a flight of stairs in the grandstand and was treated by paramedics.

Two other matches earlier in the tournament were also interrupted after spectators fell ill.

But all of those incidents pale in comparison with the biggest controversy involving the sport – the match-fixing allegations which broke on day one.

Hewitt was even drawn unwittingly into the drama after his name was included on a list of players linked to suspicious matches.

Playing in the final tournament of an illustrious 20-year career, Hewitt was furious at having to address the issue.

“Obviously, yeah, there’s no possible way,” said Hewitt.

“I know my name’s now been thrown into it. I don’t think anyone here would think that I’ve done anything corruption (sic) or match fixing.

“It’s just absurd.”

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