Halep retires from China Open 1st round with back injury

Simona Halep, of Romania waves to spectators after retiring with her back injury during her first round of the women's singles match against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Jia Haocheng/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING — Top-ranked Simona Halep retired Sunday from her first-round match at the China Open.

Halep lost the first set 6-1 to Tunisia's Ons Jabeur before retiring with a back injury that she also had problems with at last week's Wuhan Open.

It's the fourth straight loss for the defending French Open champion.

Third-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany cruised past Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-2 to reach the second round. The Wimbledon champion broke Mladenovic four times to extend her perfect record in opening-round matches at Beijing to nine.

Defending champion Caroline Garcia of France survived an early scare against Chinese wildcard Wang Yafan to win 7-6 (10), 6-7 (4), 6-3.

Americans Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens both won their matches to advance, while CoCo Vandeweghe was beaten by Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-1.

Laura Siegemund defeated No. 13 Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 4-2 after Kasatkina retired with gastrointestinal illness.

Timea Babos, Zheng Saisai, Lesla Tsurenko, Dominika Cibulkova and Kirsten Flipkens also advanced.

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