Tennis

Brisbane too hot for Muguruza

World No. 2 Garbine Muguruza suffered a fitness scare ahead of this month's Australian Open when she was forced to retire from the Brisbane International with severe cramps yesterday.

The Wimbledon champion was leading 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 when she collapsed to the ground following a serve.

The Spanish top seed could not continue and handed the match to Krunic 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 2-1, extending her wretched run of injury problems at Brisbane to a fourth consecutive year.

"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 seemed heading for a straight-set win when she opened up a 5-2 lead in the second. However, she began to struggle in the 30 deg C 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 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 No. 1 before the seedings are decided for Australian Open, which begins on Jan 15.

But Muguruza was not too downhearted.

She said: "I felt it was a good level, a good match, but I wanted to finish to see, to evaluate how the match was, but I'm happy with the way I was playing."

Krunic will meet either Sorana Cirstea or Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Last year's runner-up Alize Cornet also eased into the final eight with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet is joined by Britain's Johanna Konta, who overcame local hope Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. - AFP

Tennis