Stars Are Starting To Pull Out of Doha - Li and Williams
epa03542306 Venus Williams of the USA in action during her 3rd round match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2013. EPA/MARK DADSWELL AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT |
Leading names are starting to drop from this week’s Doha WTA event, with former Grand Slam winners Li Na and Venus Williams the first to pull the plug. Organizers may have to at least be somewhat nervous as they await the arrivals of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, currently the top three in the world.
China’s fifth-ranked Li has not recovered from the ankle injury which bothered her during the dramatic Australian Open semi-final last month in Melbourne. Williams cited an ongoing lower back injury as the 32-year-old’s career looks like winding down.
Williams has already pulled from the Paris indoor tournament as weekend Fed Cup play in Rimini against Italy. Her sister Serena mentioned back pain during the Australian Open as she went down to Sloane Stephens – also injured and currently off the court – and tournament officials might want to wait and count Serena present when and if she actually arrives in the Gulf.
Nowhere on the entire ATP World Tour is the doubles draw annually more intriguing than at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. In addition to the traditional doubles specialists, singles players--even the very top guys--often sign up for doubles in the desert.
Spain will not be in Davis Cup World Group action next week after being unceremoniously bounced out of last year's playoffs. But the nation's two best players did it proud this weekend on the ATP Tour. One day after David Ferrer captured the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title, Rafael Nadal lifted the Argentina Open trophy.
Lucie Safarova, the 28-year-old Czech lefthander, took full advantage of a weary opponent to claim the 6th, and most important, title of a long career when she defeated Viktoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Qatar Total Open.