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American Steve Johnson had to retire from his first-round match at the U.S. Open because of severe cramping.

August 27, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) -- American Steve Johnson had to retire from his first-round match at the U.S. Open because of severe cramping.

The two-time NCAA champ led two sets to one and was up a break in the fourth Wednesday when he collapsed on the court and started writhing in pain.

As medical staff attended to him, opponent Tatsuma Ito was, by rule, awarded point and game penalties because of the delay to go up 2-1 in the set. That brought on a changeover, and trainers massaged Johnson's legs while he drank fluids.

Temperatures were in the high 80s.

Johnson returned to the court but could barely move, forced to lightly tap his serves as if he was playing a recreational match. His arm also started cramping, and Ito, a 126th-ranked qualifier from Japan, went up 4-1 in the set.

During the next changeover, Johnson was in so much agony that he slid from his chair to the court and chomped on a towel. He then told the chair umpire he couldn't continue. A wheelchair was brought out, but Johnson was eventually able to walk off the court.

For the 26-year-old Ito, it was just his third career Grand Slam win.

Johnson, 24, reached a career-high ranking of No. 49 this month after beating then-12th-ranked John Isner and 13th-ranked Ernests Gulbis in hard-court tuneups. The Californian made it to the third round of the 2012 U.S. Open.

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