By Ros Satar
- Shoulder inflammation rules her out of pre-Rio tournament
- Triggers chase for the World No. 1 spot in the run up to the US Open
MONTREAL, CANADA – World No 1 and three time Rogers Cup champion Serena Williams has pulled out of this year’s tournament with a shoulder injury.
Williams, who had been at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford to practice with sister Venus will now head to the Olympics with no hard court matches under her belt.
In a statement, Williams said: “Due to inflammation in my shoulder, I unfortunately must withdraw from the Rogers Cup. I was looking forward to competing in Montreal and I look forward to returning soon.”
This could open up the chase to take over the World No. 1 spot. Angelique Kerber is just 1800 points behind her having beaten her in the Australian Open final, and reaching her second Slam final at Wimbledon (relinquishing the silverware to Williams on that occasion).
However, although the German moves into the top seed position, all is not well in the garden of Kerber either picking up an elbow injury of her own after choose not to defend her Stanford title and opting for the red clay of Bastad.
The big worry now will be for Williams and Rio, which starts in less that two weeks’ time. Williams is bidding to be the first woman to defend an Olympic tennis title, as well as combining with sister Venus in the doubles.
Her premature end to the 2015 season after her semi-final loss at the US Open helped close the gap on her ranking, and Kerber and latest Slam winner on the block Garbiñe Muguruza have picked up solid points while Williams has limited her outings to the Slams and the high profile Premier Mandatories.
Williams was actually defending semi-final points from last year, where she was stunned by eventual champion Belinda Bencic – who has already withdrawn from Montreal.
With Williams withdrawal, Muguruza moves to the head of the top half of the draw, with ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova now occupying the Spaniard’s previous position in the draw.
Britain’s Heather Watson, who was set to face the Russian in her opening round now starts against Sam Stosur.
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