Beijing - World number one Garbine Muguruza retired ill from
the first round of the China Open on Monday and US Open winner Sloane Stephens
went out after suffering a shock defeat.
The Spaniard Muguruza suggested in the build-up that she was
not fully fit after a leg injury 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.
Stephens meanwhile tumbled out in the first round for the
second week running, this time at the hands of qualifier Christina McHale.
The 15th seed Stephens, wearing all pink, saw her match
delayed by rain in Beijing.
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 loss extends Stephens' poor run after sealing her first
Grand Slam last month.
Last week the 24-year-old similarly fell at the first
hurdle, losing to China's Wang Qiang in the opening round of the Wuhan Open.
Stephens, ranked 17 in the world to McHale's 79, refused to
make any excuses during a post-match press conference lasting less than 90
"Tough day, not really much to say," she said.
"Obviously not a great match so just forget about it
and move on, try to have a better level for the next tournament (Hong
Asked if the delayed start for rain had disrupted her, she
said: "Yes, but it affects both players, so... I mean, she obviously just
handled it a little bit better.
"It's unfortunate, but it happens."