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Injury rocks Bartoli's Wimbledon bid

MARION Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist two years ago, limped out of the Eastbourne International semifinals in England with a thigh injury yesterday and said her participation at the All England Club could be in doubt.

"If it is a strain then there is not much chance I can play next week," said Bartoli, who has been seeded 12th for next week's Wimbledon championships.

"The doctors can't yet say what the diagnosis is because it is too soon after my retirement so I need to wait until tomorrow and see," added Bartoli, before leaving a news conference in tears.

Bartoli's withdrawal after 11 games put fellow Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano into today's final against Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second semifinal.

Bartoli had lost the first set 4-6 to Razzano when she asked for the trainer to be summoned. She took time out to have her thigh treated and strapped but, finding herself unable to run for the ball, pulled out after losing the first game of the second set to love.

Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final, refused to shake hands with Razzano before leaving the Centre Court.

Razzano had earlier accused Bartoli of underhand tactics, saying in French newspaper L'Equipe: "You get the impression that on court it's okay by her to use any means to win: calling on the trainer, crying, limping."

"To say what she said yesterday in the French newspaper, that is not really brilliant. I guess that is just the way she is," Bartoli said yesterday.

Razzano, who beat top seed Elena Dementieva in the second round, warmed to the theme again in her own post-match news conference, saying of Bartoli: "She tries to do things to make your concentration drop. She can try anything to win. When you play Marion you need to prepare for everything."

Swirling winds at the seaside venue made serving difficult for all four semifinalists and Wozniacki, the 2006 Wimbledon junior champion, took her time to master the tricky conditions, hitting numerous unforced errors and going a break down in the third game.

Following an exchange of breaks at the start of the deciding set, she edged ahead by breaking Wozniak again and served out for victory in just under two hours.

"It was tough conditions," said Wozniacki, who, like her rival, is of Polish extraction. "It was windy and it was circling around so you didn't know what to expect."

Reaching the final had prepared her well for Wimbledon, the 18-year-old Wozniacki added. "So many good players were here that for me to be in the final it means that I must play well on the grass and that gives me a lot of confidence."


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