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Luckless Brian Baker suffers fresh injury woe in Melbourne

Story highlights

  • U.S. tennis player Brian Baker forced to withdraw from the Australian Open
  • Baker missed six years of his career after undergoing five operations
  • Novak Djokovic breezes into the third round with a straight-sets win over Ryan Harrison
  • Fourth seed David Ferrer and No. 5 Tomas Berdych both progress

American Brian Baker was forced to withdraw from his first ever Australian Open on Wednesday with a serious knee injury that necessitated him to be taken off court in a wheelchair during his second round match with compatriot Sam Querrey.

Former world junior No. 2 Baker missed nearly six years of his career and underwent five operations in a bid to overcome a variety of elbow and hernia injuries, with his fitness not helped by a hip condition which has troubled him since childhood.

Reports in the U.S. suggested Baker had torn his lateral meniscus, an injury he has never previously suffered, and could face months on the sidelines.

"Something rubbed back and forth and ... I couldn't straighten my leg. I've never had knee problems in my life," the 27-year-old, who played in the main draw of a grand slam for the first time in seven years at the 2012 French Open, told the doctor on court.

Baker was a French Open junior runner-up in 2003, losing to Switzerland's Stanislaw Wawrinka who the American would have played in the third round if he had been able to capitalize on the 7-6 (7-2) 1-1 lead he held before being forced out of the match.

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The Tennessee native announced his arrival on the senior circuit with a win over ninth seed Gaston Gaudio at the 2005 U.S. Open.

But his Flushing Meadows run marked the beginning of his demise rather than the start of his ascent up the men's rankings.

Baker made a fairytale return in 2012, winning a Challenger Tour event before being awarded a wildcard for the French Open.

His comeback continued at Wimbledon as he reached the fourth round -- his best run at a grand slam -- but now his career has again been derailed by what appears to be a serious knee injury.

"I didn't see what happened," said 20th Querrey. "I hit a ball, and then he hit a ball long. I was looking at the ball kids to grab balls for my serve, and then I looked back and he was on the ground.

"He said he kind of just felt his knee almost buckle and kind of heard like a pop or a snap. He didn't know if it was bones or a tear, but he couldn't straighten it, couldn't walk. I feel awful for him."

Another American to exit in the second round was promising youngster Ryan Harrison, who was swept aside by defending champion and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic.

A three-time winner in Melbourne, Djokovic took just one hour and 31 minutes to set up a third-round tie against the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek.

The No. 31 seed recorded a straight-sets 6-2 6-2 6-4 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Lopez's compatriot David Ferrer enjoyed more success in his second round match. The fourth seed beat American Tim Smyczek 6-0 7-5 4-6 6-3 and will now play 2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych continued his strong start to the tournament with a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 6-4 defeat of Frenchman Guillaume Rufin.


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