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Sport Tennis China Simona Halep

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Back injury forces Halep out of China Open

Simona Halep had lost the first set when she pulled out of her first round match at the China Open. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY/Via Reuters

World number one Simona Halep admitted her concerns after a back problem forced her to retire from her first round match at the China Open in Beijing. The Romanian lasted 31 minutes of her match against the Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur who claimed the first set 6-1.

Halep’s departure is another blow to the organisers of the event. On Saturday former world number one Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament citing an ankle injury. The top three men in the world - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic – had all decided to skip the event with excuses of injury or fatigue.

"There is a pain. I couldn't move properly so that's why I stopped," said Halep who suffered another back injury while competing in Wuhan.

"I don't know exactly what it is,” she added. “I will go home and I will have a scan and I will see. I'm just worried now, I feel sad that I couldn't finish."

Defending champion Caroline Garcia advanced to the second round with a three set victory over wildcard Wang Yafan. The world number four from France won 7-6 6-7 6-3 after just over three hours of play against the world number 78 from China.