A lingering hamstring injury forced Victoria Azarenka, the No. 3 seed, to withdraw from the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday. Azarenka had won the opening set of her match with qualifier Christina McHale of New Jersey, 6-2, and was tied at 2-2 in the second set when she retired from the match.
"It's not that bad, but I hoped it had gotten better and healed," said Azarenka, who said she first injured her left hamstring in Marbella, Spain, two weeks ago where she was the No. 1 seed and advanced to the quarterfinals.
"I've been still feeling pain. I haven't gotten completely out of it, but it just kept getting worse during the match," said Azarenka, ranked No. 9 in the world. "There was no point to play longer. I wouldn't be able to finish."
Azarenka said she needed to continue with rehabilitation, but plans to play in Stuttgart, Germany, in two weeks.
Europe in the Lowcountry
Azarenka had more than one reason to regret the pulled hamstring that forced her to retire from her match with McHale. She'll have less time to spend in Charleston.
"It actually doesn't seem like the states to me," said the 20-year-old from Belarus. "It's more like a little town in Europe. That's how it feels. It's too bad I haven't seen much yet and didn't really enjoy, you know, time here."
Hantuchova, Blossom and Nutella
No. 8 seed Daniela Hantuchova apparently is a fan of Nutella, the hazelnut spread popular in Italy.
Hantuchova dined at popular Charleston restaurant Blossom on Tuesday, enjoying some "great seafood."
"Did you have Nutella on top of it?" an intrepid media member inquired.
"No," said the rail-thin Hantuchova, who is listed at 5-11 and 137 pounds.
"I had the chocolate cake."
Family Circle Cup fans were treated to a wheelchair tennis exhibition Wednesday with Alessandro Cianfoni, an assistant professor in the neurology department at MUSC who is a world-ranked wheelchair player and a two-time winner of the Italian Open (wheelchair) title, and Sarah Casteel, who won the Intercollegiate Wheelchair Tennis Championships while at Texas.
Also participating were Family Circle Cup emcee Murphy Jensen; Kiawah Island Resort tennis director Roy Barth; and Diane Fishburne, a former College of Charleston All-American who is ranked No. 1 in the world in her age group.
Spectators also were invited to try playing in a wheelchair.
ESPN2 will provide four days of television coverage, beginning with today's Round of 16.
Coverage today and Friday is from 1-2:30 p.m. each day.
Saturday's semifinal coverage and Sunday's championship is set for 1-3 p.m.
ESPN's broadcast crew will include Cliff Drysdale and Mary Joe Fernandez.
A total of 14,757 fans turned out for the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, including 7,506 for the day session and 7,251 for the night matches. That's a total of 42,886 fans so far this week, just ahead of last year's total of 41,800 through seven sessions last year.