Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova, Madison Keys pull out of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova and US Open finalist Madison Keys have pulled out of next week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the tournament organisers said on Thursday.

Five-times grand slam winner Sharapova, who had accepted a wildcard to make her first appearance at the tournament since 2006, decided to withdraw citing a forearm strain.

Sharapova lost her opening round match at the Qatar Open on Monday to Romania’s Monica Niculescu in three sets and is currently ranked 41 in the world.

Russia's Maria Sharapova makes a forehand return to during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

File image of Russia's Maria Sharapova. AP

The 30-year-old Russian has a 21-10 win-loss record since her return from a doping ban last April.

American World No 14 Keys, who was expected to make her Dubai debut, has withdrawn due to illness.

“Unfortunately both Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys have regretfully had to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to injury and illness,” tournament director Salah Tahlak said in a statement.

”We are sorry that neither Maria nor Madison will be able to play in Dubai, but we still have one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the WTA event.

“Maria said that she is very sorry she cannot be here and hopes to come back next year. We wish her and Madison a speedy recovery.”

The tournament begins on Monday with World No 2 Simona Halep set to lead the field alongside defending champion Elina Svitolina.

Published Date: Feb 15, 2018 22:36 PM | Updated Date: Feb 15, 2018 22:36 PM

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