Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn from the Brisbane International for the fourth year in a row after suffering with cramp.
The 24-year-old Spanish world number two was leading 2-1 in the deciding set of her second-round match against Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic in 30C heat.
But she collapsed following a serve and had to be helped from the court.
The 5-7 7-6 2-1 defeat ends any hope of replacing Romanian Simona Halep as number one before the Australian Open.
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“I cramp very few times,” said Muguruza, adding that the problem started early in the second set.
“The last time I cramped up was actually at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the conditions. I don’t know, but it’s rare for me.”
Muguruza’s run of injury problems in Brisbane dates back to 2015 when she withdrew on the eve of the event with an ankle problem. A foot injury ended her 2016 campaign and a thigh problem led to her semi-final retirement last year.
The top seed had started well against unseeded Krunic, the world number 53, converting her seventh set point to win the first set before surging to a 5-2 lead in the second.
But Krunic took four of the next five games to force a tie-break, which she won 7-3 to send the contest into a deciding set.