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Canada

Serena withdraws from Cincinnati due to back injury

Two days after retiring from her Rogers Cup final match in Toronto, Serena Williams officially withdrew from the Western & Southern Open near Cincinnati.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who turns 38 next month, explained Tuesday that she has not yet recovered enough for full tournament action.

“I came to Mason, (Ohio), on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” Williams said. “But unfortunately my back is still not right.”

The all-time WTA Tour money winner, Williams has captured 72 career singles titles and been the top-ranked woman’s player in the world eight different times. She is currently No. 8 in the WTA singles rankings.

Williams was forced to quit in her previous match on Sunday in dramatic fashion in the Rogers Cup final against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu. Trailing 3-1 just 16 minutes into the opening set, Williams requested a medical timeout. Within a minute, Williams said she couldn’t go on because of what was later called an upper back injury.

As her retirement was announced to the crowd, Williams began to cry. Andreescu walked to Williams’ bench, where the two hugged and exchanged pleasantries.

Williams’ status for the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 26, is unclear. Last year, Williams reached the singles final in Flushing Meadow, where she is a six-time champion.

With Williams out of the Western & Southern, American Jessica Pegula received her spot in the draw as a lucky loser from qualifying. Pegula was scheduled to oppose Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in a first-round match Tuesday night.

–Field Level Media

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