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Players fall victim to stomach bug at Indian Wells

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Intestinal fortitude has become a prized commodity at Indian Wells where at least six players have succumbed to what appears to be a viral infection over the past three days, organizers said.

Frenchman Gael Monfils, the 14th seed in the ATP tournament, and American Vania King both pulled out of the singles draw on Sunday because of stomach problems.

Monfils, who had been scheduled to play his first match against Russian Nikolay Davydenko in the second round, was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Bjorn Phau of Germany.

King, who had never reached the fourth round at Indian Wells, tweeted on Sunday: "Just spent one of the worst nights of my life (gruesome details) fever, vomiting, diarrhea..all at the same time..caught a bug from someone."

Earlier this week, Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, Italian Andreas Seppi, Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands had all suffered from stomach bugs.

Kohlschreiber withdrew before his second match of the week, Seppi and Rybarikova retired during their second-round encounters while Mattek-Sands, who lost her first-round match in the singles, is still competing in the women's doubles.

Tournament organizers said food poisoning at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was an unlikely cause of the multiple withdrawals, adding there had been widespread reports of stomach bugs in schools throughout California.

(Editing by Julian Linden)