STRASBOURG, France - Top seed Caroline Wozniacki's French Open preparation seemingly took a hit on Monday, as the former World No.1 was forced to retire down a set to Shelby Rogers in the opening round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
"I came back and had my chances to win that first set, and then I started feeling my back," Wozniacki said. "I felt it kind of in the middle of the first set. At this point, I think it's importtant for me to try and get ready for the French Open and be 100 percent for that. I'm disappointed that not to be here anmyore - it's my first time here and I love this city, and I hope I can come back."
The American claimed a marathon opening set, 7-6(8), which saw momentum changes aplenty in over an hour. After the World No.55 held to begin the second set, Wozniacki called for a medical timeout and upon resumption, served a pair of double faults and found herself unable to continue.
"We definitely had a battle in the first set," Rogers said. "I came out playing very well, and then she, as she does, fights back and doesn't miss many balls and gets her way back into the match. Best of luck [to her] on her recovery, I know she wants to get ready for Paris. I think that's important to her now and looking forward to seeing her there."
The opening set, though, was a tight tussle in the pair's second career meeting - one which started much better from the American's end than the 6-1, 6-0 defeat she suffered to the Dane in Montreal in 2014.
Rolling through the first five games, Rogers built a 4-1 lead, and the 2016 French Open quarterfinalist held a game point for 5-1 as she routinely punished the ball from the baseline.
Undaunted, it was Wozniacki's turn to go on a run from there, as she broke serve for the second time to begin a stretch in which she won four straight games - turning a 1-4 deficit into her first lead of the match.
Though Rogers carved out another break to lead 6-5 and serve for a one-set lead, the top seed dug in to force a tiebreak, and she rolled through the early stages to build a 5-0 lead.
"She got off to a great start and...it was a little windy, kind of tough on one side. I just kept trying to fight for every ball and be aggressive," Rogers, who struck 21 winners in the first set. "I served a little better at the end, so that helped me."
It was the American's turn to put on a comeback from there, as she reeled off the next five points to even proceedings, before eventually saving three set points to snag the first set.
Other early results saw the No.5 and No.8 seeds Caroline Garcia and Peng Shuai advance, along with No.7 seed Daria Gavrilova, who dispatched Louisa Chirico, 6-2, 6-3. Qualifier Elizaveta Kulichkova defeated Mandy Minella 6-1, 6-4 for her first WTA main draw win since last April, while Kristyna Pliskova edged Viktorija Golubic, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.