In an ironic turn of events in Wuhan, all three women who have qualified for the WTA finals in Singapore were the quickest seeds to exit the tournament over the past two days. World No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 2 Simona Halep and No. 4 Maria Sharapova all suffered defeats in their respective matches in the draw.
The first seed to exit was Simona Halep, as she suffered a second round loss to rising WTA star Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. It was a surprising result considering Halep appeared en route to a comfortable straight sets win after cruising through the opening set in 35 minutes.
Williams followed suit soon afterwards, although her exit came under dire circumstances. The top seed was involved in a competitive battle against French No. 1 Alize Cornet before breaking for a 6-5 lead in the opening set. At that point, Williams called for the medic and official to check her blood pressure and temperature before swiftly calling for her retirement.
The issue was later deemed a ‘viral illness.’
“I’m sorry to all the fans in Wuhan that I had to retire from my match against Alize today. I felt dizzy and nauseous in the first set and unfortunately couldn’t continue,” Serena said after the match. “The tournament organizers have done an amazing job preparing the facilities for this year’s event and I really hope to come back to the Wuhan Open in 2015.”
The most recent seed to suffer a surprise exit from the tournament was reining French Open champion Maria Sharapova, who succumbed to Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets to go out before the quarter-final round of the tournament. Sharapova fell 7-6(3), 7-5 in a match-up that saw the pair go back-and-forth affair for over two hours.
Agnieszka Radwanska also suffered an early exit to Caroline Garcia in the second round of the tournament.
Third seed Petra Kvitova, sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard, seventh seed Angelique Kerber and eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki are the only top seeds remaining in the draw.