An ill Serena Williams retired from the BNP Paribas Open while trailing Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-3 1-0 at Indian Wells on Sunday. Williams had taken a 3-0 lead in the first set before losing the next seven games. She walked to the chair after the first game of the second set and sat down, breathing heavily. After a discussion with supervisor Donna Kelso the American retired.
Tournament officials said the former world number one was suffering from a viral illness and Williams later confirmed she had been feeling ill ahead of the third-round tie.
“Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue,” Williams said in a statement.
“By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically. I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami.”
Williams, 37, had shown signs of fatigue during the first set and after it was completed she called for a trainer and following a lengthy conversation returned to the court.
Muguruza said it felt like a hollow victory.
“I felt that maybe she wasn’t feeling well,” she said.
“It’s really a weird feeling, because I don’t feel like I won the match point and (got the) ‘well done, … good match’.
“It was just like, ‘man, we’ll play next time.'”
Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, gave birth to a daughter in 2017 and returned to play last year.
She is currently ranked 10th in the world and was playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open in January.
She defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-5 6-3 in her first match at Indian Wells on Friday.
Halep claims tough win over qualifier Kozlova
World number two Simona Halep survived a tough challenge from Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova to win their third round match 7-6(3) 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday.
The Romanian finally put away the 114th ranked Kozlova with eight consecutive points in the second set, a backhand winner proving the decider just as it had in the first set.
“It was difficult for me to close out those sets,” Halep told reporters, praising Kozlova.
“When I was leading the match, she played without fear.”
The victory advanced the French Open champion, who won Indian Wells in 2015, to the fourth round for the fifth time in six years.
The meeting was the first between the pair and featured big momentum swings.
After Kozlova claimed a 3-2 advantage in the first set, Halep won three consecutive games to go to set point at 5-3 on Kozlova’s serve.
With the former world number one’s groundstrokes failing her, Kozlova reeled off 11 of the next 12 points, breaking back for 5-5 with a forehand winner.
Halep finally won the set on her third opportunity with another trademark backhand down the line.
The Romanian took four successive games for a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Kozlova again rallied to even the match at 5-5 before Halep reeled off the eight straight points to seal the win.