Elena Rybakina pulled out of the Eastbourne International just a week ahead of her defence of Wimbledon

Eastbourne (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina pulled out of the Eastbourne International on Monday due to a viral illness, raising doubts over her defence of the title at the All England Club next week.

The world number three had been scheduled to play Wang Xiyu on the first day of main draw action at Eastbourne on Monday.

Rybakina also withdrew ahead of her third round match at the French Open citing illness earlier this month and fell to a shock defeat to Donna Vekic in the second round of the German Open last week.

The Kazak’s absence meant that Daria Kasatkina was the highest ranked player in action on Monday as she beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-3, 6-1.

Kasatkina will face Karolina Pliskova in round two after the Czech advanced when Elise Mertens retired in the deciding set of their clash.

There was some joy for the home fans as Brits Harriet Dart and Jodie Burrage came through tough three-set encounters against China’s Zhang Shuai and American Lauren Davis respectively.

Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff and Petra Kvitova are among the big names in action on Tuesday.