Caroline Wozniacki in heartbreaking scenes as tennis fans stunned by Indian Wells chaos

Carlos Alcaraz was caught up in the bizarre drama on centre court in California.

Caroline Wozniacki has left tennis fans saddened after having to retire from her blockbuster Indian Wells quarter-final clash against World No.1 Iga Swiatek with a foot injury. The former champion's disappointing exit came on a chaotic day of action that saw play suspended due to a bee invasion on centre court, during the last-eight showdown between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev.

The wild scenes came after former champion Wozniacki was forced to call it quits early in the second set against Swiatek, after being unable to continue with her foot problem. The Dane jammed a toenail on her foot earlier in the tournament and had a trainer re-tape it between sets, but ultimately succumbed to the pain as Swiatek progressed 6-4, 1-0.

Pictured left to right, Carlos Alcaraz, a bee invasion at Indian Wells and Caroline Wozniacki.
Carlos Alcaraz's Indian Wells match was disrupted by a bee invasion after sad scenes for Caroline Wozniacki in her match with Iga Swiatek. Pic: Getty/Tennis TV

It was a cruel blow for the 2011 champion and former World No.1 Wozniacki, who started off superbly and raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening stanza on the back of 17 unforced errors from Swiatek. The World No.1 turned on the style after her sluggish start, winning the final five games to take the first set.

Swiatek broke Wozniacki in a four-deuce game to close out the set, before the Dane called for a medical timeout to receive treatment on her foot. Wozniacki was in the seventh tournament of her comeback since retiring more than three years ago after having two children.

Caroline Wozniacki forced to retire in heartbreaking scenes

Wozniacki attempted to play through the pain but after losing the first game to Swiatek, gestured to the Pole that she could no longer go on. It was not the way Swiatek envisaged making the semi-finals for a third-straight year as she echoed the thoughts of tennis fans by expressing her sympathy for Wozniacki.

"I have a huge respect for her and I'm sad she has to go that way I'm sure she will recover and I hope she will be ready for Miami," Swiatek said after the match. The victory for the four-time major winner sets up a semi-final showdown with Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk, who defeated Anastasia Potapova 6-0 7-5 in their quarter-final.

US Open champion Coco Gauff reached the semi-finals for the first time after beating China's Yuan Yue 6-4, 6-3. Gauff overcame 17 double faults but broke Yuan's serve five times and will play the winner of the quarter-final between Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari or fellow American Emma Navarro.


'Bee invasion' suspends play in Alcaraz and Zverev match

The real drama was still to come on centre court, however, when the men's quarter-final between Alcaraz and Zverev had to be temporarily suspended at 1-1 in the first set due to a bee invasion. In truly bizarre scenes, a massive swarm of bees descended on the stands and on court, creating havoc as players, fans and officials scrambled for cover.

Chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani looked to have been stung before climbing down onto court and declaring a “bee invasion” minutes after Alcaraz and Zverev fled the court. A large number of bees could be seen gathering around the stadium’s spider camera, with images emerging on social media of one TV operator carrying on with his job as if nothing was wrong.

Seen here, Carlos Alcaraz reacts to a bee invasion at Indian Wells.
Carlos Alcaraz raced off court after bees invaded his Indian Wells quarter-final clash with Alexander Zverev. Pic: Getty

“There’s a first time for everything,” on-court announcer Andrew Krasny said with the scores at 1-1, 15-0 and Alcaraz set to continue serving when play resumed. The Spaniard was clearly agitated by the bee invasion after racing off court to seek shelter amid the chaotic scenes. Alcaraz's agent told reporters shortly after the suspension of play that the World No.2 had been stung on the forehead as stunned fans reacted to the wild scenes.

Alcaraz eventually went on to claim a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Zverev and will now face Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals after the Australian Open champion extended his winning run to 19 matches by beating Jiri Lehecka. The Italian toppled the 32-ranked Czech 6-3 6-3 in another impressive showing.

American Tommy Paul beat Norwegian ninth seed Casper Ruud 6-2 1-6 6-3 to reach the last-four at Indian Wells for the first time. Paul will face the winner of the quarter-final clash between Russian World No.4 Daniil Medvedev and Danish seventh seed Holger Rune.

with agencies