Viral illness forces Serena Williams to end Indian Wells match early

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

Following up on a strong showing Friday against Victoria Azarenka, the 23-time Grand Slam victor took a 3-0 lead over Muguruza, but lost the next six games and the first set.

Williams has not won a tournament since defeating her sister Venus in the final of the 2017 Australian Open. "I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami".

The first Murguruza victory was in the second round of the French Open in 2014, when the Spaniard took out Williams 6-2, 6-2. In between the first and second set, Williams sought a trainer to check her blood pressure, and after the first game of the second set, she walked to the chair and had to be checked out again before retiring.

Williams had taken a 3-0 lead in the first set before losing the next seven games.

Muguruza was sorry to see it end the way it did.

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"When I was leading the match, she played without fear, I felt like she was playing much better in those games", Halep said. Svitolina awaits the victor between Jennifer Brady and Ashleigh Barty (who are now tussling on-court), and regardless of who wins that match, the Ukrainian will have a tough time tackling her then opponent.

"We've played many times and it's always super-tough, super-exciting", said former world No.1 Muguruza.

It's the second time in four years that Williams has withdrawn from the tournament. One long backhand miscue by Williams sealed the first set for Muguruza after a promising start by the American.

Muguruza next faces seventh seed Kiki Bertens, who beat Britain's Johanna Konta.

The Romanian was one of six seeds to progress, with Svitolina joining her after a 7-5 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova.

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