A 19-year-old rising tennis star’s ailing body has cost him a massive upset at the Miami Open after a frightening collapse on court.
Spaniard Nicola Kuhn was forced to retire in the third set against German veteran Mischa Zverev amid distressing scenes.
The world No.272, already staving off fatigue, fell to the floor with significant leg cramping as he attempted to move towards the net to retrieve a slow slice.
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The crowd was left in a stunned silence, especially as it took more than 15 seconds for help to arrive.
Kuhn remained in severe discomfort as ATP physio Alejandro Resnicoff tended to the player.
Zverev sportingly assisted with the delivery of water bottles but the teenager was unable to walk himself off the court, leaning into Resnicoff to avoid walking.
Canadian tennis stars Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who experienced a similarly emotional retirement at the US Open last year, tweeted their support for Kuhn.
“Such a brutal sport this is. Hope he is okay,” Shapovalov tweeted.
Auger-Aliassime wrote: “That’s tough to watch. Hope you’re well, my friend.”
Kuhn’s physical ailments were all the more devastating for what came before.
After winning the first set he led 5-2 in the second before having an incredible eight match points saved across two service games.
Standing ovation for Kuhn, who leaves the court.
Mischa Zverev gets his first singles win in 7 months. Surely not the way he wanted.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) March 20, 2019
A wildcard entry into the tournament, the match was Kuhn’s first since a Challenger defeat in Phoenix nearly 10 days ago.
Zverev will face 17th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round.
Stosur takes early victory
Australian tennis star Samantha Stosur has progressed to the second round of the Miami Open after a first-up win over Russian Evgeniya Rodina.
Stosur triumphed 6-4 6-2 over Rodina in just over 90 minutes, hitting five aces and winning three quarters of all breakpoints.
The world No.78 will face American Madison Keys in the second round, with the victor likely to face Australian Ashleigh Barty.