CINCINNATI: Top seed Serena Williams gave up a wild card entry into the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters tournament on Monday after complaining of a shoulder injury.
The world number one, who is being chased in the rankings by German Angelique Kerber, took a free entry only last week and was seeded atop the draw. But the 34-year-old American reversed course abruptly on Monday.
“I’m very disappointed I’m not able to compete as I was really looking forward to defending my title,” Williams said. “My shoulder inflammation continues to be a challenge, but I am anxious to return to the court as soon as possible.”
The absence of Williams now opens the door to Kerber to make a run at the WTA top ranking. Williams has been No. 1 for 183 straight weeks and 306 overall. But Kerber can become number one if she wins the title.
Williams took a wild card spot to get into the draw. She will be replaced by lucky loser Misaki Doi of Japan. Doi moves into the second round to next face either Zheng Saisai of China or American Christina McHale.