Serena Williams exits Indian Wells, forced to retire from match with viral illness.

Serena Williams, who played as well as she has in recent years in Indian Wells on Friday night, is out of the BNP Paribas Open, having to retire with what was officially described as a viral illness during her third-round match against Garbine Muguruza.

Williams led the first set 3-0 on Sunday only to see Muguruza rattle off six consecutive games to earn the 6-3 set win.

During the changeover between sets, Williams sought a trainer, who worked on her and checked her blood pressure. After a delay, she went out to play the second set. She played one game, which Muguruza won, and then walked slowly to her chair. After another quick check, the match was called.

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Williams walked off the court under her own power. The tournament announced about an hour and a half later that the official diagnosis was a “viral illness.”

“Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue,” Williams said in a statement released by the tournament. “By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically. I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami.”

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The shocking turn of events left the packed Stadium Court stunned.

Muguruza said she sensed something at the end of the first set might not be right with Williams, now 37 years old.

“Yeah, at the end of the first set, I felt that maybe she wasn’t feeling well,” said Muguruza who now holds a 3-3 career record against Williams.

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The 25-year-old Spaniard said, that, of course, this isn’t the way you want to win a match, but said she does feel good about her own game.

“I don’t know. It’s really a weird feeling, because I don’t feel like I won the match point and (get the) well done, you know, good match (handshake). It was just like, Man, we’ll play next time. Yeah, I think I played well one set. I’m going to take the positive side of that.”

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