Tennis star's incredible act of sportsmanship for injured opponent

Elina Svitolina has called for tennis players to be taught first aid after the world No.5 watched opponent Mihaela Buzarnescu wail in pain following an ankle injury.

Svitolina led 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 4-3 when her Romanian opponent was forced to retire from the Canadian Open second-round match after a scary incident during her service game.

Buzarnescu badly turned her ankle after rushing to a ball at the baseline.

The 30-year-old crashed to the floor near the wall and could be heard screaming and crying as the stadium fell silent.

In a heartwarming act of sportsmanship, Svitolina walked straight over to Buzarnescu to help with ice packs and towels as the chair umpire sought medical asssistance.

The Ukrainian stayed with Buzarnescu and held her hand as doctors began assessing the injury.

Buzarnescu was eventually taken away from the court on a wheelchair and has reportedly had a somewhat lucky escape – the diagnosis is an ankle sprain.

Having been disappointed with the time it took officials to reach her opponent, Svitolina shared her account of the distressing scenes and called on the WTA to introduce first-aid training.

“I thought it took ages for people to arrive. The ankle was getting bigger and bigger, like, each second,” Svitolina said.

“It’s tough to see. It’s, like, the worst probably feeling for any athlete to get injured that bad.

“It was terrible. The ankle start getting bigger and bigger in, like, seconds. The colour of it was just… I feel really bad for her. Hopefully she recovers quickly and comes back soon.”

Elina Svitolina went straight over to help the distressed Mihaela Buzarnescu. Pic: WTA

Svitolina is likely to face Johanna Konta in the next round after the Briton built a 6-3 3-0 lead over former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka before rain suspended play.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty moved into the third round with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 victory over Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.

Van Uytvanck spurned two set points in the opening set before the Australian closed out a tense tiebreaker, and Barty broke the Belgian three times in the second set to close out the win in one hour and 22 minutes.

She will face Alize Cornet in the round of 16 after the unseeded Frenchwoman stunned Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-1.

“It is one match, I know I have to learn from it,” Kerber said after wilting in the sticky heat in her first match since the grass-court major.

“I took a few weeks off after Wimbledon so I knew I had to come here, play a lot of matches, and also to get used to the hard courts again.”

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US Open champion Sloane Stephens made light work of local hope Francoise Abanda in recording a 6-0 6-2 win.

Maria Sharapova continued her bid to climb back to the top of women’s tennis with a 6-0 6-2 victory over 12th-seeded compatriot Daria Kasatkina.

“I’ve had all types of matches in my career. I’ll take what I can get as long as I’m the one getting a chance to play the next match,” Sharapova, now world No.22, said.

The Russian will face sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France in the third round.

Unseeded Kiki Bertens, the world No.18, overcame ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-2 to advance to a match-up with eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova.

Belgian 14th seed Elise Mertens, Anastasija Sevastova and Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, after her opponent retired, all progressed to the round of 16.

with AAP