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Sports Shorts: Muguruza, Stephens make early exits at China Open

October 02, 2017 18:50 IST

Muguruza, Stephens make early exits at China Open

Garbine Muguruza

IMAGE: Garbine Muguruza  reacts. Photograph: China Open/Twitter

World number one Garbine Muguruza fell at the first hurdle at the China Open on Monday, with the Spaniard forced to retire during her first-round match against Czech Barbora Strycova.

Muguruza looked sluggish throughout and was broken in the first game before losing the first set 6-1. She was trailing 2-0 in the second when she decided she could not continue.

"I got a virus in Wuhan and I did not practise in Beijing. I thought an extra day's rest would help, and didn't want to pull out," Muguruza said.

"But I couldn't perform today."

American qualifier Christina McHale served up another shock when she beat Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-0 to send the US Open champion crashing out in the first round of a tournament for the second week in a row.

Stephens, who is seeded 15th in Beijing, was eliminated in the first round of last week's Wuhan Open by China's Wang Qiang.

Peng Shuai had to dig deep to get past American Shelby Rogers, but the Chinese edged out her opponent 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-5 in an epic match lasting two hours and 48 minutes.

Shuai faces Romanian Monica Niculescu in the second round.

Mary Kom, Sarita in Asian Championships squad

The celebrated M C Mary Kom was back in her preferred 48kg category as she staved off the challenge from younger competitors to clinch a place in the Indian team for Asian Women's Boxing Championship in Vietnam.

After three days of gruelling trials in New Delhi, during which some boxers ended up fighting two bouts in one day, the veteran duo of Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi (64kg) made the cut despite trying their luck in changed weight categories.

The marquee continental event is scheduled from November 2 to 11 in the Ho Chi Minh City.

Mary Kom, a five-time world champion who had jumped a division to 51kg back in 2010 after it was included in the Asian and Olympic Games roster, will be making her sixth Asian Championships appearance.

The Rajya Sabha MP fought six bouts during the trials, winning all despite facing younger rivals in the likes of World Championships silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi among others.

The Olympic bronze-medallist had announced her decision to shuffle between 48kg and 51kg categories, depending on tournaments, at the end of last year.

Sarita, 35, also has five Asian Championships medals against her name, four of them gold. Sarita had recently tried her luck in the professional circuit, winning her debut bout, but decided to return to the amateur fold after a few months and decided to jump a division from 60kg to 64kg.

Both Mary Kom and Sarita had missed the 2015 edition, in which India failed to secure a single gold, ending with a silver and five bronze medals instead.

Set for an Asian debut is Haryana's Neeraj (51kg), who won a gold medal at the Nation's Cup in Serbia earlier this year.

World Championships' silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) expectedly made the squad along with last Asian Championships silver-medallist Saweety Boora (81g), who would be aiming to better the colour of her medal this time.

India's Asian Championship squad:

M C Mary Kom (48kg), Neeraj (51kg), Shiksha (54kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), Pavitra (60kg), L Sarita Devi (64kg), Lovelina (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Saweety Boora (81kg) and Seema Punia (+81kg).