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China Open: World number one Simona Halep retires due to injury

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Simona Halep claimed her first grand slam title at the French Open earlier this year

World number one Simona Halep was forced to retire from the China Open in the first round due to injury.

The 27-year-old Romanian lost the first set 6-1 to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in Beijing before succumbing to the back injury after 31 minutes.

British number three Katie Boulter pushed Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens all the way before losing in three sets.

World number 108 Boulter, who came through qualifying, was beaten 4-6 6-2 7-5.

The 22-year-old Briton went a break down early in the third set but recovered against a player ranked 50 places higher.

But Flipkens sealed victory on her second match point when she broke Boulter again.

Halep, meanwhile, said after her match that she would have a scan on the back problem, which first occurred last week in Wuhan.

“There is a pain. I couldn’t move properly, so that’s why I stopped,” she told the WTA website. “I don’t know exactly what it is. I’m just worried now.

“I feel sad that I couldn’t finish. That’s why I stopped, because I felt like it’s getting worse if I continue.

“It’s really tough when you have back injury because you cannot bend, you cannot react at the balls. I couldn’t play.”

Elsewhere, defending champion Caroline Garcia from France beat China’s Wang Yafan 7-6 (12-10) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 to reach the second round.

Third seed Angelique Kerber from Germany also progressed with a 6-2 6-2 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic.

In the men’s event, British number two Cameron Norrie failed to qualify for the main draw after losing 6-4 6-4 to Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

At the Chengdu Open, Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic saved four match points in the final to beat Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1 3-6 7-6 (9-7) to claim his fourth ATP title.

And Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka won his first ATP title after beating France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5 2-6 6-4 in the final of the Shenzhen Open.



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