Stefanos Tsitsipas had to retire from his second round match at the Zhuhai Open against Adrian Mannarino due to injury.
The Greek world number seven, who is aiming to qualify for his first ever ATP Finals, withdrew from the match in the third set with the score at a set apiece. He had taken the first set 6-3, and lost the second 7-5 when he opted out.
Tsitipas, who had a first round bye, was playing in his first tour-level match since his first round exit at the US Open. In the interim, he had played four Davis Cup matches and one singles match at the Laver Cup, winning all five of them.
And things looked like they were headed in the right direction for him at Zhuhai as well. After saving an early break-point in the third game, Tsitsipas earned two of them off the next Mannarino serve and availed of one of them to take a 3-1 lead.
Mannarino broke back immediately and levelled the set at 3-3 but gave away three break-points off his very next service game. He saved two of those but Tsitsipas was good enough to convert the third and forged a 5-3 lead.
The Greek had to strive hard to serve out the set after that. In a game that lasted three deuces and gave Mannarino three opportunities to break Tsitsipas back, the world number seven finally held on to scoop the set.
Despite the loss of the set, Mannarino knew he had the game to trouble Tsitsipas and was off to a flier. He went 3-1 up, only to be broken back by the Greek, before taking a 6-5 lead. Needing to serve to stay in the set, Tsitsipas faltered badly, as he went 15-40 down and lost the game and set off the very first point there.
Tsitsipas called for a medical timeout before the third set but never recovered from his ailment and opted out of the match. He had earlier looked like he was struggling all throughout the second set as well.
The Greek later apologised to the fans for his withdrawal but confirmed he will be taking part in the coming week’s China Open*. Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Tsitsipas are the top three seeds in the competition.
Mannarino will now take on Damir Dzumhur in the quarter-final. Dzumhur was a 7-6, 6-2 winner over fellow qualifier Kwon Soon-woo. Also having sealed their quarter-final berths are second seeded Roberto Bautista-Agut and Andreas Seppi who will face off in their next match and third seeded Gael Monfils who will take on the eighth seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
*Article edited on September 27, 2019 to include China Open participation