DUBAI // It is not often that you find a tennis professional fainting on court, but Anna Chakvetadze had looked frail even during her first-round win over Daniela Hantuchova on Tuesday.
The Russian came out for her second round match against Caroline Wozniacki, the top seed, last night, looking no better than the previous day.
She lost the first set 6-1, but fought back in the second and was serving at 5-3 when she wheeled backwards after a rally, her eyes rolling as she sank to the ground.
The chair umpire and Wozniacki rushed across the court, the medics followed. They checked her temperature and blood-pressure as a teary-eyed Chakvetadze sat on the ground.
The 23-year-old soon walked to her chair and after a full medical timeout, she was back on court, determined to continue. But after just one more point, she decided to give up.
To everyone's relief, Chakvetadze was later diagnosed to be suffering from gastroenteritis, and a concerned Wozniacki is hoping she will recover soon. "It was a shock … it was scary," Wozniacki said. "To see someone collapse on the other side, it's not a nice sight.
"Suddenly I just see her collapse on the court. I really didn't know what happened, and so I went over to her and I just wanted to know what was going on.
"I just wanted to make sure she was OK. I could hear that she was saying she felt dizzy. Hopefully she'll be feeling good tomorrow, feeling better.
"I never want anyone to be ill or injured. But, you know, I think it was better for her to retire today if that's what she was feeling. She wasn't feeling well enough, then it's better not to risk her health."
As both the players, good friends off the court, met at the net after the game, Chakvetadze told Wozniacki, "sorry I couldn't finish".
Before her dramatic collapse, Chakvetadze was giving Wozniacki a really tough time. Not often do you see the world No 2 slam her racket down in angst, but she was not having things her own way.
While she may have not won a grand slam yet, Wozniacki did win the 2006 girls' title at Wimbledon. In her next grand slam appearance, she was disqualified in the first round of the US Open girls' competition for using an expletive at a linesman after a disputed call.
Wozniacki, of course, has a different version of the events. She claimed, on her blog, that her words were "take your sunglasses off" - and it was not even directed at the linesman, but herself.
"Well, I think I have one," said Wozniacki, admitting she has a bit of a temper. "I'm a perfectionist. I want to play well.
"Of course, I'm giving my best, but sometimes that's not happening. You know, just usually I just try to keep it to myself.
"But today I was like, 'It's better just to get it out'."
The top seed will next meet Ayumi Morita, who dumped out India's Sania Mirza in straight sets. If she can win that game and the next to reach the semi-finals, the 20-year-old will reclaim the No 1 ranking she lost to Kim Clijsters earlier this week.
Wozniacki reached the top of the world rankings last September, replacing Serena Williams. Debates have since raged over the ranking system, as the Dane has yet to win a grand slam.
She has not been lacking in consistency though, with 12 WTA titles thus far, six of which came last year.
She also had two runners-up finishes in 2010, including the WTA Tour Championships.
"The girl [Morita] is the same age as me," Wozniacki said. "We've played a lot in the juniors, a lot of tough matches. She's been playing well this week.
"It will be interesting. Hopefully I can play well and get my game going well."
In the other third-round matches in an intriguing line-up today, Vera Zvonareva, an easy winner yesterday, takes on Alisa Kleybanova, Agnieszka Radwanska clashes with Marion Bartoli, Francesca Schiavone faces off against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Samantha Stosur meets Patty Schnyder and Victoria Azarenka will play Flavia Pennetta.