News bites: Serena out of Cincy, US Open wildcard for Gauff

Published by Tennismash / AP / Reuters / AAP

A distraught Serena Williams was forced to pull out of the Toronto final with back spasms -- an injury also seeing her withdraw from Cincinnati (Getty Images)
Serena Williams’ back troubles continue, Coco Gauff earns a US Open wildcard as Juan Martin del Potro withdraws, and Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Laver Cup.

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the WTA tournament in Cincinnati, still struggling with the back injury that forced her to retire during last week’s Toronto final.

Serena trailed Bianca Andreescu 3-1 in the first set of their Toronto finale before pulling the pin, unable to continue due to back spasms.

Due to face qualifier Zarina Diyas in the second round of the Cincinnati tournament on Tuesday night, Serena announced that she was still not ready to compete.

“I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” Serena said in a statement.

“But unfortunately my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court.”

US Open wildcard for Gauff

Coco Gauff will get a chance to attempt a Grand Slam encore after the 15-year-old received a wildcard into the US Open main draw.

The Floridian teenager made a magical run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last month, in her debut major, after getting a wildcard into the qualifying rounds at the All England Club.

Ranked just 313th at the time, Gauff became the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon, upset five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round and wound up losing to title winner Simona Halep.

Gauff is now ranked 140th. She initially made a mark at age 13 by becoming the youngest US Open junior finalist; she won the French Open junior title at 14.

Among the other players receiving wild cards from the USTA on Tuesday for the women’s field at Flushing Meadows in New York City were 17-year-old Caty McNally, an American who won the doubles title with Gauff and reached the singles semifinals in Washington earlier this month.

Other women’s wild cards went to Francesca Di Lorenzo, Whitney Osuigwe, Kristie Ahn and Katie Volynets of the US, along with 16-year-old Diane Parry of France, who got her country’s reciprocal invitation. US Open 2011 champion Samantha Stosur also received a wildcard.

The draw for the US Open is August 22, and play in the year’s last major tennis tournament begins 26 August.

Del Potro will not contest US Open

Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro will not compete at this year’s US Open as the 2009 champion continues to recover from a knee injury, tournament organisers said on Tuesday.

The Argentine re-fractured his kneecap during the Queen’s Club Championships in June in the latest setback to his injury-plagued career.

The 30-year-old world No.12 missed Wimbledon after scans revealed he had fractured his right patella and subsequently underwent surgery.

Since his triumph at Flushing Meadows, Del Potro has had three left wrist surgeries and another to his right wrist but he has fought back each time to return to the tour.

He reached last year’s US Open final and won the 2018 Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells but has said the knee injury could mean the end of his career.

Del Potro will be replaced in the main draw at Flushing Meadows by American Denis Kudla.

A day earlier, Andy Murray announced he would not play the US Open singles tournament after his first-round loss to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati.

He does, however, plan to play men’s and mixed doubles in new york, and left open the possibility of playing singles next week at the ATP tournament in Winston-Salem.

Kyrgios, Tsitsipas confirmed for Laver Cup

Skipper John McEnroe has welcomed Nick Kyrgios’s inclusion as Team World’s X-factor for the third edition of the Laver Cup.

In-form Kyrgios has joined Wimbledon finalists Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic, fellow mainstay John Isner and young gun Denis Shapovalov in Team World for this year’s annual team’s event in Geneva next month.

Team Europe, captained by McEnroe’s great rival Bjorn Borg, has won the first two Laver Cups and will again be led by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Laver Cup has been recognised as an official ATP event for the first time in 2019 as two-time French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Fabio Fognini join Federer and Nadal in giving Europe a formidable all-top-10 line-up.

McEnroe, though, is confident Kyrgios — who beat Tsitsipas in the Washington final earlier this month — can help lead Team World to an upset win in Switzerland on 20-22 September.

Kyrgios, a huge American basketball fan, thrives in the team environment.

“I’ve always said that the Laver Cup is my favourite week of the year, and how much it means to me to get around the team and play for something bigger than just myself,” he said.

“We’ve had some heartbreaking losses over the past couple of years and it means the world to me to have the chance to get out there again with the team and try to get the win for Team World.”

Tsitsipas said he was thrilled to be making his Laver Cup debut in September.

“For me personally it’s like a dream come true to be part of this incredible team, with Roger and Rafa, who I’ve looked up to since I was a little kid, along with Dom, Sascha and Fabio,” the Greek star said.

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