Youzhny withdraws from Indian Wells (pics)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, the No. 14 seed on the men’s side, has pulled out of the singles just before his second-round match against American Michael Russell.

He was replaced by lucky loser Evgeny Donskoy.

The reason was a back injury.

As it it happens, Open Court was out shooting pics of him as he warmed up for the match with Sergiy Stakhovsky.

It was the tail end of it – or perhaps they cut it short. He was hitting balls with a not particularly great intensity, but that in itself wasn’t a warning sign.

Youzhny, who is now 31 and ranked No. 15 in singles, has had his fair share of withdrawals and retirements of late.

He retired after four games of his first match of the season, against Dudi Sela in Chennai. He lost to Bjorn Phau in Zagreb, Igor Sijsling in Rotterdam (winning just four games) and gave Novak Djokovic a walkover in the quarter-finals in Dubai.

We’d say we think he might be winding it down. But that story came up a couple of years ago already, and he’s still around.

Youzhny and doubles partner Max Mirnyi already are out of the doubles, having lost to No. 3 seeds Dodig and Melo 63 62 in the first round.