Simona Halep faces a race to be fit for the US Open after being forced to withdraw from her second round match at the Cincinnati Masters because of a thigh injury.
The Romanian - who just last week won the Canadian Open title - was scheduled to play Veronika Kudermetova in the second round after overcoming Anastasia Potapova on Tuesday in the States.
Halep appeared to be struggling with the injury in her victory over Potapova, in concerning signs before the US Open, which gets away in less than a fortnight.
Subsequently, the 30-year-old pulled out before her second round clash, giving Kudermetova a walkover into the last 16 where she will face either Paula Badosa or Ajla Tomljanovic.
Halep becomes the latest big-name withdrawal from the women's draw in Cincinnati, with Americans Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova, as well as Czech Marie Bouzkova also pulling out with injuries.
The unfortunate Halep news left fans hoping and praying that she makes a speedy recovery in time for the year's final grand slam at Flushing Meadows.
Simona Halep has pulled out of her next match vs Veronika Kudermetova.
Halep struggled with her right leg last night in a three-set win over Anastasia Potapova. She was back on court just 48 hours after her Toronto win 🏆 #CincyTennis
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) August 17, 2022
@Simona_Halep sorry to hear you had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury...hope you heal quickly and are ready for the US Open...sending good vibes your way... 😎
— Thomas 😎 (@buzzinneon) August 17, 2022
Simona Halep has been forced to withdraw from her match today with a right thigh Injury. Veronika Kudermetova advances to the round of 16.
Feel better soon, Simo!#CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/7CpIobhA6H
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) August 17, 2022
— Dave Keaton (@Dave__Keaton) August 17, 2022
Gauff, Bouzkova, Anisimova, and Halep are all out of #CiincyTennis because of injury. Those who are insisting that they aren't injured should try working a third as hard as these players do, with the same insane schedule.
— Diane Elayne Dees (@WomenWhoServe) August 17, 2022
— beth • ✨#TeamAngie ♥️ (@bethhhhh_xx) August 17, 2022
The list of withdrawals/retirements at #CincyTennis gets longer… all seemingly with ankle or thigh issues. Fingers crossed everyone is well enough for the US open.
— GTL TENNIS PODCAST (@GameToLove_) August 17, 2022
Halep just last week clinched her third Canadian Open title in spectacular fashion against Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia.
The Romanian kept her control against the unpredictable Brazilian, winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in an absorbing and high quality contest in Toronto.
Romania's former World No.1 added the trophy in Toronto to those she captured in Montreal in 2016 and 2018, with the latest piece of silverware her first under new coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Emma Raducanu issues another emphatic statement
Meantime, defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu slayed her second former grand slam champion in as many days after comprehensively outclassing Victoria Azarenka.
Less than 16 hours after she dumped Serena Williams out of the Masters with a 6-4 6-0 victory, the Brit was at it again with an even more dominant 6-0 6-2 win in just over an hour.
The 19-year-old will face a tougher encounter in the last 16 as she faces American No.1 and seventh seed, Jennifer Pegula.
"I was playing a great match for sure and to play Vika I had to stay focused throughout," she said during her on-court interview.
"In the second set I could feel the important moments and a couple of turning points that could have made the second set really difficult.
"I am really pleased with how I dug in and serving it out in that last game was really difficult.
"It was another honour to play Vika - she has won so many championships and slams, so it was a great honour to be out here.
"I have realised in the last year, people are going to talk whatever you do and maybe things I do are more amplified because of my situation.
"I just learned to really zone in internally and today and yesterday, I don't really show any emotion. I didn't let myself get too high or too low and that definitely helped."
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