LONDON, June 24 Second seed Victoria Azarenka fought through the pain barrier after a nasty fall to beat Maria Joao Koehler 6-1 6-2 to reach the second round of Wimbledon on Monday.
The Belarussian had cruised through the first set against the Portuguese world number 106 and was one point away from going 2-0 up in the second when she slipped behind the baseline while trying to reach a shot and almost did the splits.
Azarenka screamed in agony as she lay on the grass, with some spectators taking a moment to realise the noise was real pain rather than the usual shrieks that accompany her every shot, and she received treatment there before taking a medical timeout.
Her right knee was strapped and she walked gingerly back to continue the match, serving two double faults immediately before eventually losing the game.
Hobbling between shots and unable to run for anything that landed away from where she was standing, Azarenka looked relieved when she won the match thanks to the errors of Koehler who failed to capitalise on her opponent's lack of mobility. (Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Ken Ferris)