Muguruza falls in Brisbane
Garbine Muguruza’s hopes of returning to world No.1 next week have been dashed by a bout of cramp
The Wimbledon champion, in her first outing of 2018, was forced to retire in the third set of her clash with Aleksandra Krunic at the Brisbane International.
The Spaniard had hoped to overtake Simona Halep, currently playing in Shenzhen, and seize top spot again, but she was unable to complete the match due to physical issues in the unforgiving heat.
"I felt in trouble in the second set when I was 2-0 up," explained Muguruza post-match. "I started to feel my calves were cramping. I continued to think that with the match it might go away, but then it was increasing, increasing - and then I had a lot of part of my body cramping."
Johanna Konta made it back-to-back wins for the first time since August after a hard-earned 4-6 6-1 6-4 success over Ajla Tomljanović in the second round.
"To be honest, it's a great thing to have two tough matches early on," said Konta, back in the country of her birth. "It's a boost, the match fitness, and it boosts a lot of the competitive scenarios that we're going to face the whole year. I'm sure my next match will be the same."
The British No.1 will challenge either Elina Svitolina or Ana Konjuh in the last eight later this week.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Alize Cornet brushed past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1 7-5 and Anastasija Sevastova thrashed Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-1 in just 57 minutes.
At the Shenzhen Open in China, Maria Sharapova rallied from a set down to eliminate Alison Riske 4-6 6-3 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals. There were also second round wins for Timea Babos, Zarina Diyas and Aryna Sabalenka.
Kristyna Pliskova secured a significant victory by defeating French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko, in routine fashion. The Czech made it through to the second round after a commanding 6-1 6-4 triumph over the No.2 seed.
Ana Bogdan got the better of Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2 in the remaining first round match to be completed.
Caroline Wozniacki, who ended 2017 by winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals, kicked off the new campaign with a resounding 6-3 6-0 success over the helpless Madison Brengle at the Auckland Classic.
The Dane still has a slim chance of becoming world No.1 again next week.
Agnieszka Radwanska has had a torrid time with injuries recently, but she is back fit and safely through to the second round. The Pole outlasted Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 4-6 6-2.
Barbora Strycova survived a bruising encounter with Sara Errani 6-4 6-7(3) 6-4, Varvara Lepchenko upset Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 and Taylor Townsend took out her compatriot, Christina Mchale, 1-6 6-4 6-4.
Sofia Kenin, Veronica Cepede Royg, Sachia Vickery, Ysaline Bonaventure, Johanna Larsson, Polona Hercog and Victoria Kuzmova also progressed.