Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza swept the first seven games against Julia Putintseva but had to retire with a left leg injury as she exited the third round of the WTA event in Charleston on Thursday.
The Ukrainian winner was handed a 0-6, 2-2 win in 51 minutes as Muguruza was unable to continue after producing 10 winners in the runaway opening set.
“I was already feeling some pain in my first match, the switch from hard courts to clay was tough, and (made) in a very short amount of time,” Muguruza said.
“I started very well, and all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my leg, and it got worse.
“I didn’t want to continue without playing my best tennis. It didn’t make sense to me.”
The former No.1 and March trophy winner in Dubai got a visit from the trainer after leading 1-0 in the second set, but lasted for only three more games.
“She was playing really great tennis from the first point,” Putintseva said. “I tried to fight back, I tried to do my best.
“In the second set I could at least make it even. I don’t feel like I deserve this (win). I wish her a speedy recovery – she’s having a great season.”
Second seed Petra Kvitova also went down in the third round, beaten 6-4, 6-1 by Danka Kovinic of Montenegro after losing serve six times.
The Czech double Wimbledon champion became a victim to her opponent from the Balkans after escaping a similar upset scenario in 2016 against Kovinic.
The winner has a solid history at the tournament, moving to her only WTA quarter-final at the venue in 2015, a year when she beat teenagers Naomi Osaka in qualifying and Swiss Belinda Bencic in the second round.
“We both have pretty big serves and she’s very good hitting from the baseline,” Kovinic said.
“I took her pace of the ball. Her returns on my second serve were sometimes incredible – I didn’t even move and the ball passed by me, but somehow I managed.”
Kovinic next faces Putintseva with the Kazakh winning both of their previous Challenger matches, the last one six years ago.
Main photo:- Danka Kovinic beating second seed Petra Kvitova – by WTA Tennis.com