Former World No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza has been forced to withdraw from the Sydney International. The Spaniard was supposed to have a second-round rematch against No.7 seed Kiki Bertens. However, it seems that she contracted a gastrointestinal illness and has been forced to retire. This will put a damper on her Australian Open 2019 preparations.
The Spaniard had stitched up a 1-3 record in last week’s Hopman Cup. She also added a solid 6-3, 6-4 win over fellow countrywoman Carla Suárez Navarro in her Sydney opener
This is the second consecutive year that Muguruza has fallen victim to an ill-timed ailment during her Australian Open warm-ups. Back in 2018, she was forced to retire from her Brisbane opener against Aleksandra Krunic due to a right thigh injury. She was also forced to subsequently withdraw from her Sydney quarterfinal against Daria Gavrilova for the same reason.
The 25-year-old’s clash with Bertens would have been a rematch of their second-round encounter last year. Muguruza triumphed in the showdown with a score of 6-3, 7-6(6). It was the two-time Grand Slam champion’s first win in four meetings against the Dutchwoman.
She claimed a win over Suarez Navarro inspite of a day interrupted by rain at the Sydney International. Meanwhile, Australian player, Samantha Stosur took a rare win on Australian soil when she rallied to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. It was a confidence-boosting result for the local favourite ahead of the Australian Open, which starts next week.
In other first-round matches, Bertens defeated American player Bernada Pera 7-5, 6-4. Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky ousted ninth-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4. Kazakhsthan’s Yulia Putintseva beat another Australian favourite, Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 7-6 (4).
Finally Italian player Camila Giorgi downed another Australian, Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-3. Giorgi would later lose to Germany’s Angelique Kerber. There are a few other matches going on but as of now, they have been suspended due to rain. Among the affected are Anett Kontaveit and Monica Puig, Katerina Siniakova and Elise Mertens and finally, Alex de Minaur and Reilly Opelka. All these players are hoping to get plenty of practice in before Australian Open 2019.