Barty retires with injury; Gauff, Swiatek reach French Open 3rd round

Paris, Jun 3 (EFE).- Ashleigh Barty, the world No. 1, is out of the French Open after an injury forced her to retire from her second-round clash against Poland’s Magda Linette while trailing 6-1, 2-2.

The 25-year-old Australian pulled the plug 48 minutes into the match due to a left-hip injury that she picked up during practice over the weekend and which flared up even more Thursday on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Barty, the 2019 French Open Champion, had already struggled physically in her first match, needing three sets to get past American Bernarda Pera and watching numerous winners go past her without scrambling to get her racket on the ball.

But her movement was even more restricted on Thursday.

“It’s disappointing to end like this,” said Barty, according to the tournament’s website.

“I’ve had my fair share of tears this week. It’s all good, everything happens for a reason. There will be a silver lining in this eventually. Once I find out what that is, it’ll make me feel a little bit better, but it will be there, I’m sure,” she added.

Upset by her misfortune, Barty said “for my body to let me down is really disheartening.”

Barty came into the tournament in great form, having won an Australian Open tune-up event in Melbourne in January; the Miami Open, a hard-court WTA 1000 event, in early April; and a French Open tune-up tournament in Stuttgart in late April.

But her high number of matches between late March and mid-May apparently caught up with her physically.

She had been forced to withdraw midway through her contest against American phenom Cori Gauff at last month’s Italian Open with a recurring arm injury before sustaining the hip injury that she said was “completely new.”

“It was just becoming too much. Right from the first game I was battling the pain, and it just became too severe… it was becoming unsafe,” she said.

Linette will next compete for a place in the last 16 against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who ousted Australia’s Astra Sharma 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.

In other action Thursday involving French Open title contenders, defending champion Iga Swiatek was nearly impeccable in a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.

Swiatek, winner of this year’s Italian Open, ruled the baseline and struck 22 winners, several of which came on backhand drop shots, a key weapon for her in her surprise run to the Roland Garros title last October.

Despite her aggressive ball-striking, the 20-year-old Pole only committed 12 unforced errors throughout the match.

Gauff, who topped China’s Qiang Wang to win her first clay-court title last month in Parma, Italy, defeated that same opponent 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) on Thursday to book her place in the third round.

The 25th-ranked American moved forward effectively during the match and won 11 of her 13 net points.

But after committing five double faults and 34 unforced errors, she will likely need to clean up her game to get past 14th-ranked countrywoman Jennifer Brady, the 2021 Australian Open finalist, in the third round.

Gauff and Brady are among a group of eight women’s players from the United States in the round of 32.

Other Americans advancing to that stage on Thursday in the top half of the draw were Sloane Stephens, the 2018 French Open runner-up; Sofia Kenin, last year’s finalist; and Jessica Pegula.

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