Top seeded Simona Halep lasted on court for just 31 minutes before retiring from her first round match at the China Open on Monday.
With Serena Williams having already withdrawn from the competition, all eyes were on the French Open winner, Halep, but she suffered what looked like a recurrence of her back injury during her opener. After losing the first set to the qualifier Ons Jabeur, Halep retired from her match to leave the tournament organisers in early strife.
Halep’s back injury first surfaced at Wuhan last week where she was ousted in straight sets by Dominika Cibulkova in round two after getting an opening bye. What this means is that Halep is now on a four-match losing streak, having also lost in first round to Kaia Kanepi at the US Open after suffering a defeat at the Cincinnati Open final.
Jabeur will now take on Donna Vekic in round two after the latter crushed Greek Maria Sakkari in straight sets in her opening match.
The 2018 China Open also lost the 13th seeded Daria Kasaktina to an injury, after the Russian retired in her opening round match to Laura Siegemund.
Two other seeds fell by the wayside in round one of the competition, with fifth seeded Petra Kvitova losing to Daria Gavrilova and Aleksandra Krunic overcoming a tough challenge from sixth seeded Elina Svitolina.
Gavrilova dropped just three games in her win against Kvitova while Krunic needed a final set tie-breaker to beat Svitolina and book their second round place.
Among those who advanced to the second round included the ninth seeded Sloane Stephens, 17th seeded Madison Keys, third seeded Angelique Kerber and fourth seeded and defending champion Caroline Garcia.
Second seeded Caroline Wozniacki is now the top-ranked player remaining in the draw, even as Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza take to court later for their opening round matches.