MADRID, Nov 9 (Reuters) World number three Jelena Jankovic was forced to retire from her final round-robin match in the WTA Championships today because of ill health while trailing 6-1 1-0 against Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli.
''I've been sick for a couple of days and I'm having so much trouble breathing, I'm just suffering on the court and I can't play my game,'' the 22-year-old said as she left the court.
The retirement brought a premature end to a disappointing tournament for both players.
Jankovic went home without a win after losing to Justine Henin and Anna Chakvetadze in her previous matches, while Bartoli was deprived of a proper victory after being called in as a late replacement for the injured Serena Williams.
The Frenchwoman was demolished 6-0 6-0 by world number one Justine Henin in her opening match on Thursday just hours after being told she would have to step into the tournament.
She got off to a far better start against Jankovic, winning her first game of the tournament when she held her service to love and then breaking in the second and fourth on her way to a 4-1 lead.
Jankovic, who has endured a gruelling year in which she has compiled 72 victories, never looked happy and left the court briefly for medical attention complaining of shortness of breath.
Bartoli used her powerful two-handed strokes to break again in the sixth as she eased through the set, while Jankovic continued to struggle and eventually decided to retire after losing her serve in the opening game of the second set.
''It has been a very strange week for me,'' said Bartoli. ''I heard at 1.15 in the morning that I would have to play the world number one Justine Henin and yesterday I got beat really badly.
''So my wish was to have fun and play a little better in the last match of the year and I'm really sorry for Jelena that it ending up like that.'' World number four Ana Ivanovic takes on former winner Maria Sharapova later on Friday in a match that will decide which of the two players finishes top of the red group.
The winner will play Russia's Anna Chakvetadze, while the loser will meet defending champion and world number one Justine Henin in the semi-finals.
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