Muguruza beats injured Azarenka to retain Monterrey crown

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Garbine Muguruza is one of five former world No.1s currently ranked outside the WTA top 10 (Getty Images)
Leading 6-1 3-1, Garbine Muguruza seals a second straight Monterrey title when a leg injury becomes too much to bear for a resurgent Victoria Azarenka.

Spain’s Garbine Muguruza successfully defended her Monterrey Open title when an injured Victoria Azarenka retired while trailing in the second set of the final on Sunday.

Second seed Muguruza was leading the match between the two former world No.1s 6-1 3-1 when Azarenka was unable to continue because of a leg injury.

“I want to congratulate Victoria on a great level of tennis,” Muguruza said during her acceptance speech.

“I know it’s a bittersweet moment but hopefully you can recover soon.”

Muguruza broke the pained Belarusian three times in the first set and again in the fourth game of the second.

The fifth-seeded Azarenka received treatment on her leg during a medical time-out between sets, but it became apparent as the second set began that her movement had become significantly hampered.

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Azarenka was grimacing and stretching after nearly every point and, after Muguruza broke for a 3-1 lead, the two-time Australian Open champion decided to call it quits.

In the semifinals, Azarenka stopped No.1 seed Angelique Kerber in three sets to advance to her first WTA final in three years.

That was in Miami 2016; she subsequently fell pregnant, gave birth to son Leo in December 2016, then endured a complicated custody battle that prevented her from travelling with Leo outside of California – where she is based – for almost a year.

“I’ve been very happy that I’ve been able to come here this week; it’s a very special week that I’m gonna remember for a long time,” an emotional Azarenka said during the trophy presentation.

“It’s unfortunate I couldn’t give my best today, but I tried my hardest.

“I want to thank my team for being there for me every singles day; we’re going through a lot but I couldn’t have picked better people to go through this journey with.

“I (also) want to say thank you and send all my love to my son Leo; he’s not here with me, but I would love to share this moment with him, because it is a special moment.”

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