Second seed Garbine Muguruza joined defending champion Maria Sharapova and world number two Simona Halep on the Brisbane International sidelines after retiring hurt in her match against Varvara Lepchenko Wednesday.
Lepchenko won a thrilling first set 7-6 (11/9) and was leading 1-0 in the second when Muguruza pulled out with blisters on her feet.
Muguruza had called for the trainer after the first set to have her left foot bandaged but her movement was hampered in the first game of the second set and she decided she couldn't continue.
Sharapova and Halep both withdrew from the tournament before their opening matches, Sharapova with an arm injury and Halep with a sore Achilles.
Their withdrawals mean fourth seed Angelique Kerber is the highest ranked player left in the tournament.
Lepchenko will face another Spaniard, Carla Suarez Navarro, in the quarter-finals.
Rafa Nadal speaks after beating Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-3 to win the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
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Stan Wawrinka was pleased with his level despite his 7-5, 7-5 defeat to Milos Raonic in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship semi-finals Friday, in which the Swiss blew a 5-2 opening set lead.
The world No4, who is the highest ranked competitor in the six-player Abu Dhabi field, looked on his way to a one-set advantage before Raonic rallied to take the next five consecutive games.
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Wawrinka had a window to force a third set when he broke Raonic as the Canadian world No14 was serving for the match at 5-4, second set. But was unfazed and broke again, this time sealing his victory with a service winner.
Raonic, making his debut in the UAE capital, had beaten Kevin Anderson in his first match on Thursday and will now square off with Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s final.
On his part, Wawrinka was not too disappointed with his form and is happy he gets to play a third-place playoff against Ferrer today.
“For sure I lost five games in a row wasn’t great, but in general I think the level was good,” Wawrinka told Sport360.
“First match of the year, you need to find your game. A little bit hesitation in some games. I liked the conditions, I think it was a good level, I’m quite happy with the match in general. I still see where I can improve a little bit more.
“My serve wasn’t great today, the rhythm wasn’t great, but the rest in general I think I moved well and I’m happy with that start. For sure I would’ve preferred to win but I have the chance to play another match tomorrow against David Ferrer. It’s going to be a completely different match so for me it’s really good to try and raise my level.”
Nadal and Ferrer played a tremendous match earlier on centre court and Wawrinka says he was not surprised the two Spaniards were competing at such a high level.
“I’m not surprised because we come here to win. Even if it’s the first match of the year, even if it’s the first tournament. It’s great conditions. We’re here to beat top guys, there are only top guys here. You don’t come here just to try, you’re here to put your game there and try to win,” said Wawrinka.
On his part, Raonic is looking forward to facing Nadal in the final Saturday.
“We’ll see tomorrow what the signs are like but I’m happy with the way things are progressing. It’s going to be a tough match that’s for sure, but Rafa always makes it tough even if he’s not in his tip-top shape. But from watching today I thought he played very well today so it’s going to be an exciting opportunity tomorrow,” said Raonic, who beat Nadal for the first time last year at Indian Wells but still trails the Mallorcan 1-6 head-to-head.
“Rafa’s the kind of the guy who needs to play matches and he played a lot at the end of the year and he’s got those matches behind and he’s obviously going to feel comfortable, he’s going to find answers. So tomorrow hopefully I’m going to take some of those answers away.”