GUANGZHOU, China - Marion Bartoli became the first major casualty of the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women's Open on Tuesday when she was forced to retire midway through her first round match with Chang Kai-Chen.
With the match evenly poised at 4-3 to Chang in the first set, a gastrointestinal illness brought an abrupt end to No.1 seed Bartoli's tournament. Lucky loser Chang now moves on to a second round meeting with Hsieh Su-Wei, a 75 63 winner over Nina Bratchikova.
No.2 seed Zheng Jie's opening match also came to a premature conclusion, with her opponent, Chan Yung-Jan, suffering from dizziness before retiring at 5-3 down in the first set. Next up for Zheng, a three-time semifinalist in Guangzhou, is the in-from Laura Robson, who she meets in the first match of Wednesday's evening session.
"I practiced with her when I arrived in Guangzhou, that was the first time I played with her," Zheng said when asked about her second round encounter with Robson. "She played well in the US Open and won a silver medal in mixed doubles at the Olympics. I think she'll be a future star."
Also advancing at the Tianhe Sports Centre were fellow leading seeds Sorana Cirstea and Urszula Radwanska. Cirstea overcame a mid-match lull - and a 4-1 second set deficit - to see off Chinese qualifier Hu Yue-Yue, while Radwanska continued her excellent recent run of form by defeating Melinda Czink, 76(1) 62 for her 42nd win of the season.
Other first round winners included Peng Shuai, Alizé Cornet, Olga Govortsova and Mathilde Johansson, the latter of whom ended a three-match losing streak by upsetting No.6 seed Monica Niculescu, 75 62.
Niculescu bounced back from this disappointment quickly, though, teaming up with Jarmila Gajdosova to defeat Valeria Savinykh and Xu Yi-Fan in the doubles, 61 75. The day's only other match saw Tamarine Tanasugarn and Zhang Shuai ease past Erika and Yurika Sema, 61 62.