MONTREAL — A chronic right knee problem has forced No. 2-ranked Li Na to withdraw from the Rogers Cup Canadian Open women’s tennis championships.
While withdrawals are sometimes a matter of a player seeking time off to ensure they are ready for a more important event, the injury appears to be genuine because Li announced on her Facebook page that she is skipping the entire U.S. Open series.
“I wanted to let all of my great fans know that, unfortunately, I am going to have to withdraw from the upcoming WTA events in Montreal and Cincinnati, as well as the U.S. Open,” Li wrote. “Since March, I have been struggling with my knee and it is just not where I need it to be in order to play at the highest level. My medical team has advised me that I need to take some time off to rest my knee so it heals. I look forward to getting back on the court this fall in Wuhan and Beijing.”
Li, who first needed knee surgery in 2008, reached the final here in 2012, losing to Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
There were two other withdrawals Thursday as Austrian Yvonne Meusburger and Canadian wild-card Sharon Fichman sent their regrets. Czech Barbora Zahlavova-Strycoa and American Alison Riske replace Li and Meusburger while tournament officials gave Fichman’s wild card to Montrealer Françoise Abanda.
Activity at the Jarry Tennis Centre will kick into high gear Friday with a series of practice matches. Maria Sharapova has booked time on centre court at 1 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday. Eugenie Bouchard, who becomes the No. 5 seed with the withdrawal of Li, will practise Saturday at 2 p.m. Also on tap Friday is the draw at 5 p.m.
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