Muguruza, Stephens exit

Cornet eliminates Kerber; Wozniacki wins

Muguruza, Stephens exit

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 practise for her opener but had been determined to play, having lost in the quarterfinals last week in Wuhan, where she struggled with a leg injury.

“I got a virus in Wuhan and I did not practice in Beijing. I thought an extra day’s rest would help, and didn’t want to pull out,” Muguruza said. “But I couldn’t perform today.”

Strycova faces Julia Goerges of Germany in the second round.

Stephens tumbled out in the first round for the second week running, this time at the hands of qualifier Christina McHale 3-6, 0-6 in just 62 minutes.

France’s Alize Cornet eliminated former world number one Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-4 in the second round in an evenly contested battle that ended the German’s hopes of a first title since she won the U.S. Open in 2016.

Fifth-seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark bucked the trend of upsets with a 6-2 6-2 win over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Romanian and world number two Simona Halep’s match against Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova was moved to Wednesday after rain delayed play.

Unseeded Belgian Elise Mertens pulled off a stunning comeback against Slovak eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova, winning 7-6(4) 6-1 despite trailing 5-0 in the first set, and faces Caroline Garcia of France next.

Cilic, Anderson through

In Tokyo, top seed Marin Cilic made quick work of Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday, winning 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Japan Open.

The towering Croatian, runner-up to Roger Federer at this year’s Wimbledon, took just 73 minutes to complete a one-sided victory in Tokyo against a player ranked 110 places below him.

World number five Cilic, a former US Open champion, rifled eight aces and totally dominated on serve on a speedy hardcourt surface that suits his power game. South African Kevin Anderson, who was beaten by Rafa Nadal in the US Open final last month, also advanced in straight sets, the fifth seed ousting Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-6.

And controversial Australian Bernard Tomic recovered from a wobble to beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

In other matches, American Ryan Harrison overcame Japan’s Yusuke Takahashi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 while Frenchman Adrian Mannarino dumped out another local favourite, Go Soeda, 7-5, 7-6.

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