Williams, who has struggled with a shoulder injury that saw her withdraw from Montreal, coupled with a far earlier than expected exit from the Olympics in the third round) will now go into the US Open with little preparation under her belt.
In a statement from the tournament, she said: “I’m very disappointed I’m not able to compete in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati as I was really looking forward to defending my title. My shoulder inflammation continues to be a challenge, but I am anxious to return to the court as soon as possible.”
Williams had accepted a wild-card into the tournament after bowing out of her Gold medal defence in the third round, at the hands of Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, as well as falling in the first round of the women’s doubles, partnering sister Venus Williams.
Second seed Angelique Kerber now has a chance to claim the WTA World No. 1 ranking, if she goes on to win the title. However, the draw has already been hot with pos-Rio 2016 withdrawals, including Olympic champion Monica Puig and bronze medalist Petra Kvitova.
Williams’ place in the draw is now taken up by Misaki Doi. The Japanese player was the first seed in the qualifying draw, but was fourth on the list of the four lucky losers drawn for placement in the main draw.
As Williams had a bye, she will advance to the second round, and will face the winner of the match between qualifier Zheng Saisai and Christina McHale.
Wild weather continued to wreak havoc with the main draw on Monday, as play was suspended on all courts for a spell after a severe weather warning.
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