BEIJING: World number one Garbine Muguruza retired ill with a virus in the first round of the China Open on Monday and US Open winner Sloane Stephens went out in a shock defeat.
Spain’s Muguruza suggested in the build-up that she was not fully fit and she lost the first set 6-1 to unseeded Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.Muguruza, 23, the reigning Wimbledon champion, called a medical timeout at 2-0 down in the second set and then called it quits after having her pulse taken on the side of the court.
Muguruza said afterwards she had been too unwell even to practice for her opener but had been determined to play, having lost in the quarter-finals last week in Wuhan, where she struggled with a leg injury.
“Since I’m in Beijing, I didn’t play at all. I don’t know, I got a virus in Wuhan,” she said.“I want to feel like giving the last chance, going on the court, just hit a few balls, see how I’m going to feel, try to turn things around.”
Strycova faces Julia Goerges of Germany in the second round.Muguruza headed for the exit soon after Stephens tumbled out in the first round for the second week running, this time at the hands of qualifier Christina McHale.
The 15th seed Stephens saw her match delayed by rain falling on Beijing’s outdoor hardcourts.When it finally got started she failed to fire, going out to her fellow American with a whimper, 6-3, 6-0 in just 62 minutes.
The comeback of the tournament so far belonged to the Belgian Elise Mertens.The 21-year-old recovered from 5-0 in the first set to trump the eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.The second seed Simona Halep saw her second-round match against Magdalena Rybarikova shelved after the morning drizzle.