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By Chris Oddo

Photo Credit: Martin Barreiro

Juan Monaco injures ankle in Monte-Carlo

(April 17, 2012) Juan Monaco, who won the US Men’s Clay Court Championship title in Houston on Sunday, was forced to retire from his first-round match in Monte-Carlo against Dutchman Robin Haase due to an ankle injury.

With Haase serving at 1-3, ad-out in the third set, Monaco turned his right ankle during a long rally after hitting a forehand from behind the baseline. He immediately fell to the clay, writhing in pain, as medical staff arrived.

After resting on the court for several minutes, Monaco walked to his chair under his own power and had the ankle taped.

When play resumed, Monaco lost the next two points, not bothering to run for Haase’s forehand that ended the game. An extremely disappointed Monaco called it a day after that.

The eleventh-seeded Monaco had rallied from a set down, bageling Haase to take the second, and was up a break in the third set.

Haase advances to face Fabio Fognini in round two.

The Dutchman, who was hit by a Monaco forehand while standing at the net earlier in the set, showed great sportsmanship by tending to Monaco after he had gone down with the injury. He called for a ballboy to bring him a towel, folded it into a pillow and placed it gently under Monaco’s head.

It seemed to bring a smile to the Argentine’s face.

But afterwards Monaco was a picture of dejection. 

It’s a tough blow for one of the hottest clay-court players on the ATP tour this year. Monaco has already won his first two titles since 2007 this season, and is at a career-high ranking of 14.

In other singles action, seeded players Andy Murray (3), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4) and Fernando Verdasco (13) all reached the third round, while No. 12 seed Kei Nishikori defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos to reach the second round.

Tenth-seeded Feliciano Lopez was upset by Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 in first-round play, while fourteenth-seeded Florian Mayer also went down, losing to qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin in three sets.


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