Elena Rybakina had a fortuitous march into the quarter-final of the Wuhan Open after her opponent Simona Halep retired from their third round encounter on Wednesday.
Rybakina was leading 5-4 in the first set when the Wimbledon champion opted out because of a back problem. More details are awaited on the gravity of the injury as Halep confirmed.
“It’s a lower back. I think it’s more muscle, but I don’t know yet because I didn’t check it properly. [At] 4-all, 0-30, with the backhand. I had a sharp pain.”
“I don’t know yet [if it’s the same as the previous injury]. It looks a little bit different but it’s still the same zone.”
Things were on serve at that point but both players had been broken twice apiece in the opening set when Halep withdrew from the match.
— WTA (@WTA) September 24, 2019
The former world number one from Romania had earlier retired from a match at the Rogers Cup in Toronto in August because of a left Achilles problem. It was in her quarter-final match against Marie Bouzkova but that looked more a precautionary measure in the lead-up to the US Open.
Halep was sent out packing in the second round of the US Open by Taylor Townsend.
The Kazakh wildcard had defeated Zhu Lin and Ons Jabeur in her first two rounds of the competition, having come into the Wuhan Open with a first round loss at Guangzhou last week. A finalist at the Nanchang Open, Rybakina has also won a WTA title earlier this year at Bucharest.
She will now take on the winner of the match between defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and Kiki Bertens, the sixth seed.