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Muguruza withdraws; Sharapova wins
January 03, 2018
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Brisbane: World number two Garbine Muguruza suffered a fitness scare ahead of this month’s Australian Open when she was forced to retire from the Brisbane International on Tuesday with severe cramping.

Wimbledon champion Muguruza was ahead 2-1 in the deciding set against Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic in the second round of the warm-up tournament for the season’s first Grand Slam event, when she collapsed to the ground following a serve. The Spanish top seed was unable to continue and handed the match to Krunic 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 2-1.

“I felt in trouble in the second set when I was 2-0 up,” Muguruza said. “I started to feel my calves were cramping.”

Muguruza had won a tight first set and appeared heading for a straight sets win over Krunic when she opened up a 5-2 lead in the second.

However, she began to struggle in the 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) heat and oppressive humidity as Krunic fought back to win the second set on a tiebreak.

Muguruza received treatment from the physio on court before the start of the decider and broke Krunic only to collapse while serving to consolidate the service break.

“I continued to think that with the match they (cramps) might go away, and then they were increasing, increasing. And then I had a lot of my body cramping,” Muguruza said.

The loss ends any hope Muguruza had of leapfrogging Simona Halep and becoming world number one before the seedings are decided for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan.15.

Krunic will now play Anastasija Sevastova after the seventh-seeded Latvian crushed Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-1. Last year’s runner-up Alize Cornet eased into the final eight with a straight-sets win over Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet, who won her first-round match when fourth seed Caroline Garcia retired injured, was too consistent for Lucic-Baroni, winning 6-1, 7-5.

Murray pulls out


Murray suffered a right hip injury in 2017 and has not played on the ATP tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old Scot issued a statement on Tuesday announcing his withdrawal from the tournament, and did not say whether he would be able to play the year’s first Grand Slam. Murray said he would stay in Brisbane as he “works towards returning to the tennis circuit”.

“I’m very disappointed to be withdrawing from the Brisbane International,” he added.

Earlier, 21-year-old South Korean Chung Hyeon stunned fifth seed Gilles Muller from Luxembourg 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), while US qualifier Michael Mmoh upset Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund survived a barrage of 18 aces from 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov to win in three sets 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, and Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin downed seventh-seeded Bosnian Damir Dzumbhur 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-2.

Sharapova wins

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova came back from a set down to defeat American Alison Riske at the Shenzhen Open on Tuesday and book a spot in the quarter-finals.

Riske, who had been hoping for her first win against the former world number one, proved to be a tough opponent early in the match before the Russian finally overcame her 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in just under two and a half hours.

Despite Riske’s early lead, Sharapova hit 34 winners, nearly three times Riske’s total. The world number 59 was helped by 11 aces, and managed to save seven out of 10 break points.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko meanwhile slumped to a shock defeat on Tuesday only days after beating Serena Williams in the American’s comeback match.

Number two seed Ostapenko of Latvia lost to the big-serving Czech Krystina Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 in just an hour and 20 minutes.

Ostapenko had beaten Williams via a super tie-break 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, but she had no answer to the power of Pliskova, identical twin sister of former world number one Karolina.

Pliskova, third on the WTA Tour’s ace charts last season, raced out to a 5-0 lead to start the match.

It was not the start to 2018 that Ostapenko wanted, with the first Grand Slam of the year — the Australian Open — starting in 13 days’ time.

Earlier there was disappointment for the home crowd when Chinese number three seed Zhang Shuai was bundled out in three sets by Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.

Wozniacki cruises

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki cruised through to the second round of the WTA Auckland Classic on Tuesday but other seeded players struggled in their opening matches of the new year.

The third and fourth seeds Barbora Strycova and Agnieszka Radwanska were both pushed to three sets, as was number two seed Julia Goerges on the rain-disrupted previous day.

The other four seeds, including defending champion and fifth seed Lauren Davis, were all eliminated in the first round. But there were no problems for Wozniacki after the Dane recovered from a rough start to romp home 6-3, 6-0 against American Madison Brengle.

It took Strycova three hours to beat Italian Sara Errani 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, with the Czech not fully showing her class until the last game when Errani was broken to love.

Defending champion Davis was bundled out 6-1, 6-2 by fellow American Sachia Vickery, who only made the main draw after going through qualifying without dropping a set.

Another qualifier, Ysaline Bonaventure from Belgium, knocked out sixth seed Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3. Seventh seed Mona Barthel of Germany also went out in straight sets, losing 6-2, 6-2 to American Varvara Lepchenko.

Agencies

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