Illness forces Williams to withdraw at Indian Wells
Sports Scene

Serena Williams' comeback efforts suffered a big blow when an indisposed 23-time Grand Slam champion had to retire from her third-round WTA match against Garbine Muguruza at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Muguruza was leading 6-3, 1-0 when Williams, down with a viral illness, pulled out of the match mid-way.

The 10th-seeded American tennis legend later released a press statement through the tournament organizers saying, "Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue."

Serena Williams (C) sits down with medical staff after retiring from her match against Garbine Muguruza during the women's singles third round at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Serena Williams (C) sits down with medical staff after retiring from her match against Garbine Muguruza during the women's singles third round at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Incidentally, this was the first tournament appearance for Williams since the Australian Open earlier this year.

Even though she made a strong start, winning the first three games against the 25-year-old Spaniard, Williams had to call for the trainer after dropping six straight sets.

After having a long discussion with medical staff, the American super-mom took the court for the second set, but after Muguruza held her serve to win the first game Williams decided to discontinue. "By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically," Williams mentioned in her statement.

"I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami."

Meanwhile, former world no. 1 Muguruza, who currently ranks 20th in the WTA rankings, remarked, "We've played many times and it's always super-tough, super-exciting. I wish I'm going to see her soon and feeling better."

The tough draw at Indian Wells saw Williams defeating former world number one Victoria Azarenka in her second-round opener.

Simona Halep celebrates her 2-0 victory in women's singles third round match against Kateryna Kozlova (not pictured) of Ukraine at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Simona Halep celebrates her 2-0 victory in women's singles third round match against Kateryna Kozlova (not pictured) of Ukraine at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Meanwhile, world no. 2 Simona Halep sailed into the next round as she notched up a 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 victory over Ukrainian qualifier and world no. 114 Kateryna Kozlova.

The Romanian will face 61st-ranked Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who has progressed after a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over 22nd seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd after defeating Peter Gojowczyk (not pictured) of Germany at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Roger Federer acknowledges the crowd after defeating Peter Gojowczyk (not pictured) of Germany at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, U.S., March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Meanwhile, the men's draw saw two of the past champions advancing to the next round. World no. 2 and three-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain stormed into the third round in just 72 minutes as he crushed Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-1.

On the other hand, fourth-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland, gunning for a sixth title, turned back a second-set challenge from German Peter Gojowczyk to script a 6-1, 7-5 win.