Top seed Sofia Kenin advanced to the third round in Abu Dhabi on Friday, but far from the way she wanted to.
Her opponent, Kirsten Flipkens, took the opening set after winning the final 12 points. Digging in for the battle, Kenin eventually had the second set on her racquet when unfortunate circumstances took over.
With Kenin serving at 5-7, 5-4, 15-0, Flipkens retreated to return a moonball. After slightly leaping to hit a forehand, the Belgian’s left ankle struck a sponsor board on its way down. She immediately clutched her ankle, appearing to roll it.
Flipkens received an on-court consultation, before gingerly walking back to her player bench. With visible swelling, the 34-year-old ultimately decided there was no reason to risk further damage. Flipkens was bidding to defeat Kenin for the first time in three meetings, having lost their first two in straight sets.
"It was the third time we’ve played each other, and it was a really solid match from both of us. This is not the way I wanted to win," Kenin told press.
"We’re good friends and that’s not something you like to see. I just hope she can have a speedy recovery and get ready for Australia."
Following a first set that saw Kenin win just six of 24 points on her first serve, the reigning Australian Open champion improved markedly with a 15 for 18 success rate in set two before the match stopped. The world No. 4 will meet No. 13 seed Yulia Putintseva, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Barbora Krejcikova, for a place in the quarterfinals.