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shleigh Barty’s quest for a second French Open title is over for 2021 after the women’s world no1 was forced to retire from the tournament through injury.

The Australian top seed pulled out of her second-round tie against Magda Linette of Poland in the second set on Thursday while losing 6-1, 2-2 due to a persistent hip problem.

Barty memorably won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2019, defeating Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets, but declined to play in the tournament last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barty had faced problems with her movement on court on Tuesday during the opening round against Bernarda Pera but her physical condition improved against the American after receiving medical attention before the deciding set.

Barty called the trainer on court once again on Thursday after the first set, which she lost in just 27 minutes, hoping to be able to play on after receiving help.

Barty returned to Philippe Chatrier court after the medical timeout and played four more games before deciding she could no longer continue.

An upset Barty said: “It’s heart-breaking. We have had such a brilliant clay-court season, and to get a little bit unlucky with timing more than anything to have something acute happen over the weekend and just kind of run out of time against the clock is disappointing.

“It won’t take away the brilliant three months that we have had, as much as it hurts right now.”

She added: “I just tried to give myself a chance and see how it felt. Obviously practising we’ve had our restrictions and essentially tried to stay as fresh as possible and not aggravate it in any way, but in a match that’s unavoidable at times.

“It got worse today and it was becoming at the stage where it was unsafe. As hard as it is, it had to be done.”

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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