“I can’t breathe”: Serena Williams forced to retire after terrifying health scare
Serena Williams has been forced to retire from her third-round match at Indian Wells Masters after a frightening health scare that left her with “extreme dizziness".
The 23-time Grand Slam Champion won the first three games of her highly anticipated clash with Garbine Muguruza in the California desert.
She took the court for the second set, but soon complained of feeling ill as the match continued.
She lost the next six games and decided to call it a day when she was trailing 3-6 0-1.
Tournament organisers took to Twitter to explain the 37-year-old was suffering from a “viral illness".
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“I’ve never seen her like that,” one commentator said.
“It’s so, so rare that she ever retires from a tennis match.”
The tournament was the sixth time Williams and Muguruza came face-to-face on court.
The last two clashes were grand slam finals which saw Williams winning at Wimbledon in 2015 and Muguruza taking home the 2016 French Open crown.
"We've played many times and it's always super-tough, super-exciting," said Muguruza, who is a former world number one like Williams. "I wish I'm going to see her soon and [she's] feeling better."
Williams explained in a statement, “Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue.
“By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically.
“I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami.”