PARIS: Fifth seed Victoria Azarenka was knocked out of the French Open on Tuesday when she was forced to retire from her opening round tie with a knee injury.
Former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka went down 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 4-0 to Italy’s world number 118 Karin Knapp.
Azarenka, semi-finalist in 2013, hurt her knee midway through the second set and required a medical timeout.
She saved a match point in the tie-break but after a second session of treatment in the decider, she called it quits.
Azarenka’s defeat was good news for defending champion Serena Williams who she was seeded to meet in the quarter-finals.
The Belarusian was one of the form players of 2016 with a record of 26-2.
But one of her defeats was on clay this month in Rome while she handed young American Louisa Chirico a walkover in Madrid because of a back injury.
For Knapp, it was a first career win over a top 10 player and first at Roland Garros since 2008.
The 28-year-old will face Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the last 32.