LONDON, Great Britain - No.8 seed Elina Svitolina moved into the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday when Russian Margarita Gasparyan retired late in the second set.
After failing to serve out the opening set from 4-2 up, Gasparyan ultimately took a one-set lead, and led 7-5, 3-1, before Svitolina began a comeback.
Nonetheless, Gasparyan looked poised to upset Svitolina for the second time this summer, having also defeated her at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, but ultimately succumbed to physical issues late in the second set.
"Honestly, I was a little bit shocked. It's never nice to get this when someone is injured like that. It puts you a little bit off," Svitolina said.
"At the end, we'd expect that she would go and play. It happened that way and really unfortunate for her."
Gasparyan was two points away from the victory with Svitolina serving at deuce and the Russian ahead, 7-5, 5-4, before she collapsed to the court at 0-30 in the next game in distress in her legs.
Attended to on-court, Gasparyan did not receive a medical timeout, and was able to resume playing, but immediately lost serve and proved unable to continue after more than a few points overall.
"I was fighting. I was just with my head into the battle. She played some great tennis. She was really striking the ball really good and playing some great tennis," Svitolina continued.
"I had to really fight and try to earn my opportunity. Yeah, it was good that I held for 5-All, and that was my plan to do."
The scoreboard read 5-7, 6-5, 40-15 with the No.8 seed serving when the World No.62 came to the net to shake hands.
Showing off her flashy one-handed backhand and penchant for grass courts before the unfortunate ending, Gasparyan had Svitolina on the ropes by totaling 42 winners in nearly two hours of play.
"She was just going for all the shots today, and she played really strong today. I think she's in general a really good player," said Svitolina.
"I know that she was struggling a little bit with injuries, but I think her ranking should be much higher than it actually is. Yeah, she actually strikes the ball really clean. Her serve is big.
"I played against her only on grass courts. So it's tough for me to say clearly, but it was tough battle today."
The Russian nearly tripled Svitolina's total of winners, as the latter struck just 15, though the World No.8's defense lured Gasparyan into 33 unforced errors.
Svitolina will next face No.31 seed Maria Sakkari, who defeated Czech lucky loser Marie Bouzkova, 6-4, 6-1.
"It's going to be another tough one. I know she improved massively for the past years, and she can really play great matches and great tournaments," the Ukrainian assessed.
"It's gonna be very important for me to play my best game, to just be ready physically for another battle. Yeah, it's a third-round match, so it's gonna be another day, another match."