Bethanie Mattek-Sands loses on comeback but earns warm applause at Miami Open

Bethanie Mattek-Sands’s comeback ended in a 6-2 7-5 loss to Alize Cornet in the Miami Open first round on Wednesday but the American wildcard walked off court to applause which she was unable to do the last time she played.

Frenchwoman Cornet needed one hour and 38 minutes to reach the second round before congratulating her opponent as the fans at Crandon Park cheered.

It was a far different scene the last time Mattek-Sands was in action when she was carried off court on a stretcher screaming in pain after suffering an horrific knee injury during last year’s Wimbledon.

Mattek-Sands was playing Romania’s Sorana Cirstea when she appeared to slip as she approached the net early in the third set before collapsing awkwardly to the grass.

After a moment’s silence, she suddenly screamed out in pain, then repeatedly shouted “help me” as she clutched her right leg.

Medical personnel arrived and Mattek-Sands was treated on court for more than 20 minutes, during which time she was given oxygen and an injection.

“I’m the most happy with the win, but secondly, is to see Bethanie back on court,” Cornet said. “She’s a great player and I was very sad last year for what happened to her at Wimbledon.

“She’s already back and she’s playing damn good. I’m very happy to be through.”