MIAMI: Britain’s Andy Murray moved into the third round of the ATP and WTA Miami Open on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) but Rafael Nadal, dizzy as he struggled to cope with heat and humidity, retired from his match.
World number two Murray, twice a Grand Slam champion, downed Uzbekistan’s 76th-ranked Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-5 to reach the third round in a night match.
“That second set was tight but I managed to get through it,” said Murray, who next faces Bulgarian 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov in his quest for a third Miami crown.
Spanish fifth seed Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion playing in the heat of the afternoon, feared for his safety and handed 94th-ranked Bosnian Damir Dzumhur a 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 triumph, stopping during a match for the first time in six years.
“Everything was fine until the end of the first set and I started to feel not very good,” Nadal said. “It was getting worse and worse and worse.
“I get a little bit scared to be too dizzy and to lose fluids. I called the doctor a couple of times. I decided I was not safe. I wanted to finish the match but I decided I would not.”
Two-time Slam winners Stan Wawrinka and Petra Kvitova crashed out of the hardcourt event, although Nadal’s exit proved most stunning of all.
“Hopefully it’s nothing,” Nadal said. “Hopefully it’s just the extreme conditions out there, the beginning of a virus combined with the conditions.”
Nadal, a four-time Miami finalist but never a champion, was also a first-match loser at the Australian Open, only the second Grand Slam opener defeat of his career.
Dzumhur, 23, won 22 of the last 29 points as Nadal, 29, repeatedly spoke with a trainer, asking for his blood pressure to be taken after two games of the third set.
“Can we not check the tension, if it is good or bad please?” he said. Told it was good, he said, “Continue.”
After dropping the third game, he sat with his head down as a trainer told him, “If you’re feeling bad, there’s no point to continue.”
Nadal battled through three more points and finally said he could not go on.
“Definitely I want Rafa to recover,” said Dzumhur. “He’s one of the best players in tennis and I wish all the best for him.”
World number one Serena Williams ousted Kazak Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3, in the match after Nadal and was also tested by the conditions.
“It was definitely humid,” Williams said. “Rafa played before me. He was in the most intense part of the sun whereas I was on the tail end of it.”