Dubai hit by Williams and Kerber injury pullouts

Dubai hit by Williams and Kerber injury pullouts
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Published February 13th, 2016 - 19:11 GMT via

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Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Next week's Dubai Tennis Championships suffered a pair of high-level pullouts on Saturday as Serena Williams and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber withdrew injured.

The pullouts - the third time in four editions that world number one Williams has cancelled on the tournament - leave defending champion Simona Halep as top seed.

But the Romanian made a delayed decision herself to compete after originally deciding to take February off to get a sinus problem fixed through surgery following an Australian Open first-round loss.

Now, the world number three is back in the WTA chase with her medical procedure put on indefinite hold.

Besides number one Williams and Germany's Kerber, others missing the event include 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, 2011 winner Caroline Wozniacki, China's Peng Shuai and Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Williams, who was busy on the Home Shopping Network last week trying to move 45-dollar cardigans on air, blamed influenza for her absence.

"I'm disappointed to have to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships," she said in a statement. "I have come down with the flu and I am not at 100 per cent, so I need to take this time to recuperate."

Kerber, who beat Williams for the Australian Open title, said: "I am very sad to announce that I have to withdraw from this great tournament in Dubai due to an injury of my right upper thigh."

A pair of Spaniards trail Halep in the seedings, with Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza seeded second ahead of Carla Suarez Navarro.

© 2015 dpa GmbH

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