WTA Qatar Open: Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova forced to retire
Last Updated: 11/02/14 10:14pm
Dominika Cibulkova: Retired early from her match against Alisa Kleybanova
Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova and fellow Slovak Daniela Hantuchova were both forced to pull out of their respective matches at the Qatar Open due to illness and injury.
Tenth-seeded Cibulkova retired early from her match against Alisa Kleybanova after being struck down with a stomach bug, while Hantuchova stopped with a knee problem early in the second set in her clash against former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic.
Cibulkova went down with illness not long before her match, and considered quitting the tournament altogether.
Instead, she struggled through eight games against Alisa Kleybanova, the former top 20 Russian, and somehow led 5-3 without feeling better, but then called a halt when her opponent pegged back the score to 5-5.
"I was really looking forward to playing this week in Doha," said Cibulkova.
"Unfortunately I became very sick today and suddenly did not feel well. I wanted to give it a try today and I did everything I could to play, but I could not continue."
Meanwhile, Ivanovic, who has beaten both Williams sisters this year, only just saved the first set against the former world No 5 with a last-minute break back, and a lengthy struggle seemed likely until Hantuchova stopped with a knee problem early in the second set.
"It's never easy to finish like this and I hope she (Hantuchova) will get better, but the first set was really competitive and I am happy that I won that set."
The victory took Ivanovic within two wins of a possible quarter-final meeting with another big name - Li Na, the top-seeded Australian Open champion from China.
"It's never easy to finish like this and I hope she (Hantuchova) will get better, but the first set was really competitive and I am happy that I won that set," the ninth-seeded Serbian said.
In the pick of the day's other results, 12th seed Samantha Stosur defeated Marina Erakovic from New Zealand 6-4 6-2, while American Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset hot Canadian prospect Eugenie Bouchard 7-5 6-1 and Lucie Safarova from the Czech Republic fought back to defeat Belgian 16th seed Kirsten Flipkens 5-7 6-4 6-4.
The top eight seeds begin their campaigns on Wednesday, with Li Na, the favourite, starting against Magdalena Rybarikova, the world No 32 from Slovakia.
The plum second-round match, however, appears to be that between Venus Williams, the seven times Grand Slam winner and Petra Kvitova, the former Wimbledon champion.