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Serena retires with viral illness against Muguruza in Indian Wells

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 11 Mar 2019
  • Serena retires trailing by a set against Muguruza
  • The American was up 3-0 but lost the next six games
  • Serena was suffering with a viral illness
Serena Williams (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Serena Williams has retired for just the second time since 2009 after pulling out mid-way through her Indian Wells third round clash with Garbine Muguruza due to a viral illness.

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Returning to the court after her thrilling victory over Victoria Azarenka in the second round on Friday night, Serena was once again tasked with confronting a two-time major champion and former No. 1 in Muguruza, who is desperately trying to regain her best form after a disappointing 2018.

However, after racing out to a 3-0 lead, Serena all of a sudden became sluggish, struggling with her movement and generally losing power all over the court as she dropped six games on the bounce to lose the opening set 6-3. Serena called the trainer at the end of the set and retired just a game later, sending Muguruza into the Round of 16.

"I think she started playing well, right away with her serve, with her shots, being very dominating," Muguruza told reporters after the match. "I had to adapt a little bit my position in the court, the way I was hitting, and it took me a few games to kind of do it. Once I did it, I felt much more comfortable to be able to release my tennis.
"It's really a weird feeling, because I don't feel like I won the match point and, 'Well done, you know, good match'. It was just like, 'Man, we'll play next time.' 
"I think I played well one set. I'm going to take the positive side of that. Now I have more chances to face top opponents. That's what I'm looking for."

Serena Williams leaves the court (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Serena was playing her first tournament since blowing a 5-1 deciding set lead in the Australian Open quarter-finals against Karolina Pliskova in January.

After producing some spectacular tennis in the second round against Azarenka, it appeared as if the 23-time major champion was going to take some serious stopping in Indian Wells, but unfortunately Serena will now have to focus on recovery and regaining her health for Miami, which begins in just over a week.

Serena has only retired 14 times in her career and only twice since 2009 (Wuhan, 2014).

“Before the match I did not feel great, & then it just got worse with every second, extreme dizziness & extreme fatigue,” Serena said. “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.”

Muguruza meanwhile goes on to face seventh seed Kiki Bertens for a place in the quarter-finals. Bertens came through a tough straight sets clash with former top five player Johanna Konta later on Sunday, 7-6(10) 6-4.


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Serena retires with viral illness against Muguruza in Indian Wells

Serena Williams has retired for just the second time since 2009 after pulling out mid-way through her Indian Wells third round clash with Garbine Muguruza due to a viral illness.

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