Fourth seed Elena Rybakina forced to withdraw from French Open

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Elena Rybakina has been forced to withdraw from the French Open due to illness, shortly before her third-round match.

The Kazakhstani 23-year-old, who was born in Russia, was due to face unseeded Spanish opponent Sara Sorribes Tormo on Philippe-Chartrier Court to open play on Saturday morning.

While Rybakina was out on the clay surface an hour earlier, doing some warm-ups and practice shots, news broke just before the allotted start time that she was withdrawing from the tournament, handing a walkover to Sorribes Tormo - meaning a first-ever appearance in the round of 16 for her.

In a short press conference confirming her departure, Rybakina revealed she had been suffering over the past 24 hours since beating Linda Noskova in the second round on Thursday.

“I didn’t feel well yesterday, I had a high fever, headaches and I didn’t sleep. Today it is the same. I’m far from being 100 per cent,” she said.

Sorribes Tormo now awaits a fourth-round tie against either 14th-seed Beatriz Haddad Maia or 23rd-seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.

More to follow...