Serena Williams pulls out of WTA tournament in Rome

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Serena Williams withdrew from the WTA clay-court tournament that begins Monday in Rome due to a left Achilles tendon injury sustained in her US Open semi-final defeat, the tour announced Saturday.

Williams, chasing her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles crown, lost to Victoria Azarenka in three sets on Thursday on the Arthur Ashe Stadium hardcourt.

The former world number one, a four-time Rome champion, joins 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova is skipping the tuneup for the French Open, which begins on 27 September.

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“I regretfully must withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d’Italia due to an Achilles strain,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon.”

Williams took a medical timeout in her New York loss to have the Achilles injury treated.

“I just was stretching,” she said after the match. “I ran for a shot, and of that first step that I took, it was a long point. It wasn’t my ankle, it was actually my Achilles. It just overstretched. It was pretty intense. Then that was that.”

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty withdrew from Rome earlier in the week, the Australian star saying she would shut down her season due to coronavirus concerns and travel restrictions.

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