Virus-hit Muguruza retires in China Open first round

Virus-hit Muguruza retires in China Open first round

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Virus-hit Muguruza retires in China Open first round

World number one Garbine Muguruza retired ill with a virus in the first round of the China Open on Oct. 2 and U.S. 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.

"I don't want to retire before the tournament starts for me."

Muguruza, yet to win a tournament since reaching the top ranking in mid-September, added:

"It's good that I could play on Monday, I had more days to rest.

"But in fact, I couldn't perform today."

Strycova faces Julia Goerges of Germany in the second round.

In the men's draw, top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal begins his China Open quest on Tuesday against Lucas Pouille.

The 23-year-old Frenchman has lost his last three matches on the trot, but he beat Nadal at the U.S. Open last year -- the last time they met -- and the Spanish legend anticipates a stern test.

"He has a great level of tennis. Hopefully he will not finish the season that well because I play tomorrow against him," Nadal said, smiling.

"But I am sure he will be fighting for important things next year, he has the talent to do it.

He has the game, the right level of tennis to make that happen if he wants to do it."