World number one Simona Halep has been forced to withdraw from her first-round match with Ons Jabeur at the China Open due to a back injury.
The French Open champion was clearly in discomfort throughout the opening set of her match against the world number 113, as she went on to lose it 6-1 before she ultimately decided to withdraw from the contest altogether.
Halep also struggled with her back during last week’s Wuhan Open, where she was beaten in the second round by Dominika Cibulkova, and she admits that she was never going to be fully up to speed heading into her clash with Jabeur.
“There is pain, I couldn’t move properly,” the Romanian revealed after withdrawing.
“I’m very worried now. “Treatments done since last week helped to heal the back muscle, but now I started to feel yesterday in the bones. I feel sad that I couldn’t finish.”
Halep went on to confirm that she is disappointed that she could not mount a serious challenge during what was her first appearance at the China Open and she also feels the injury may have repercussions for the rest of her season.
She added: “I was motivated. I was ready to push myself to finish this year stronger than last year.”
Halep’s withdrawal means Caroline Wozniacki is now the highest seed left in the competition, while the likes of Angelique Kerber and defending champion Caroline Garcia are also still in the draw.