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Tuesday May 18th, 2021 6:47PM

Serena withdraws from Italian Open with Achilles injury

By The Associated Press
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ROME (AP) — Four-time champion Serena Williams withdrew from the upcoming Italian Open citing the Achilles issue that bothered her in a loss to Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open semifinals, organizers at the Foro Italico announced on Saturday.

Williams took a medical timeout for a tape job on her Achilles during her three-set loss on Thursday.

“I regretfully must withdraw from the (Italian Open) due to an Achilles strain,” Williams said. “I’m so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon.”

The Italian Open, which was rescheduled from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, begins on Monday.

Azarenka remained entered for Rome and was drawn to play Venus Williams in the first round.

In the men’s tournament, U.S. Open finalists Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev withdrew, as did Daniil Medvedev, who lost to Thiem in the semifinals in New York.

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal headlines the field in the Italian capital, marking his return to tennis after a seven-month layoff. He has been practicing in Rome for several days.

Nadal was drawn a tough opening match against fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta, who was beaten by Zverev in the U.S. Open semifinals. Nadal and Carreño Busta have byes in the first round — Nadal due to his ranking and Carreño Busta because of his performance in New York.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who was disqualified from the U.S. Open, is also entered.

The clay-court tournament in Rome is a warmup event for the French Open, which starts on Sept. 27.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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