Brisbane International: Garbine Muguruza pulls out for fourth straight year

Australian Open Garbine Muguruza retires in the Brisbane

Aliaksandra Krunic claimed the best rankings-wise win of career.

BC-TEN-Brisbane International, 5th Ld-Writethru, 516 Murray withdraws, Muguruza retires with cramps in BrisbaneAP Photo BKWS102, XTP113, XTP117, XTP101, XTP106, XTP104Eds: Updates with Murray quotes, new photo link.

World No. 2 Garbine Muguruza's wretched run of injury problems at the Brisbane International extended to a fourth consecutive year on Tuesday when the Spaniard succumbed to leg cramps in the third set of her opening match.

The reigning Wimbledon champion was coasting but the 53rd ranked Krunic mounted a stirring fight back and reeled off four of the next five games to force a tiebreak, which she claimed by a 7-3 margin to send the contest into a deciding set.

"I felt in trouble in the second set when I was 2-0 up", Muguruza said, as the WTA website reported, "I start to feel my calves were cramping".

"Even though we can all say 'we're going to the next round, blah blah blah...' the match is not over and there was a lot of play still for us and for you guys so definitely I'm not happy with what happened today". "I can not believe it. I don't know, but it's rare for me".

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Muguruza, who briefly held the No. 1 ranking last September, had treatment on both legs before retiring after nearly 2 ½ hours in humid conditions on Pat Rafter Arena, giving Krunic a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 1-2 retired, victory.

Krunic struck 26 winners to 30 unforced errors in her second career win on Australian soil.

The loss ends any hope Muguruza had of leapfrogging Simona Halep and becoming world number one before the seedings are decided for Australian Open, which begins on January 15.

Last year's runner-up Alize Cornet eased into the final eight with a straight sets win over Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. A foot injury ended her 2016 campaign and a thigh problem led to her semi-final retirement past year.

She received medical treatment before deciding to pull the pin, ensuring Krunic became the first through to the Brisbane quarterfinals. Krunic, meanwhile, advances to a quarter-final meeting with either Romania's Sorana Cirstea or Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova but was disappointed with the manner of her victory over Muguruza.

The fifth-seeded Davis lost 6-1, 6-2 to fellow American Sachia Vickery, who who had the chance to hone her game in three qualifying matches in Auckland.

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