Injured Svitolina could miss Wimbledon

Svitolina suggested she might pull out of the Wimbledon due to a heel injury, after slumping to a second round defeat at the Birmingham Classic.

Svitolina often played well in the second set and broke serve to lead early in the third, but her standards dropped away.   -  Getty Images

World number five, Elina Svitolina, said she could miss Wimbledon with a heel injury, after slumping to a second-round defeat to qualifier Camila Giorgi in Birmingham on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Ukrainian was clearly struggling as she slid to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 loss to qualifier Camila Giorgi in the second round at Birmingham on Thursday.

Afterwards she suggested she would consider pulling out of the third Grand Slam tournament of the year, which starts on July 3.

"There is a question about it," she admitted. "I will talk with my physios. The season is very long and I must look at the bigger picture. The heel feels painful and is very sensitive. I am disappointed I am out of the tournament but I am not disappointed with my performance, because I could not show even 50 percent. Also the court was slippery, which is bad for the foot."

The lush grass in the English midlands is utterly different to the clay on which Svitolina won the Italian Open and reached the French Open quarter-finals, where she missed a match point against eventual runner-up Simona Halep.

Combined with a sudden change from Wednesday's fierce heat to drizzle and damp, it became hard for Svitolina, who has had issues with a foot problem, to cope.

Giorgi adapted to the slick surface very well, hitting some raging forehand drives, finding some good angles, and occasionally coming to the net effectively. The Italian played close to the standard that took her to 30 in the world, two years ago.

With Dominika Cibulkova having already lost in the first round, the two leading seeds have now both departed early, following belated withdrawals from four other top-10 players.

Svitolina often played well in the second set and broke serve to lead early in the third, but her standards dropped away. "I am not surprised about the way Giorgi played because she always played great on grass," she said.

Giorgi now has an enticing opportunity to enhance that reputation, as she will have a quarter-final against another surprise survivor, Ashleigh Barty, a 21-year-old Australian making her first appearance in the main draw. On Wednesday, she overcame Barbora Strycova, the eighth-seeded Czech, who is a two-time former finalist.

Although this week's event is only a warm-up for Wimbledon, it is a premier-level tournament with high prize money. If it proves even the slightest indicator of events at Wimbledon, there are some shocks in store when the Grand Slam tournament gets underway on July 3.