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Serena pulls out of Cincinnati after failing to recover from back injury

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 14 Aug 2019
  • Serena out of Cincinnati
  • American fails to recover from back injury sustained in Canada
Serena Williams (PA Images)

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati due to the back injury that forced her to retire from the Rogers Cup final on Sunday.

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Williams was scheduled to play her opening match in Cincinnati on Tuesday night, but the quick turnaround from the Rogers Cup final in Toronto meant she didn’t have enough time to recover from the back issue that caused her to retire in tears against Bianca Andreescu.

The 37-year-old travelled to Cincinnati in the hope of competing and playing one last tournament before the U.S. Open, but said she simply wasn’t ready to take to court.

“I am so sad to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open as it is truly one of the tournaments I most love to play," Williams said. 
"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. But unfortunately my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court.
"I really want to thank tournament director Andre Silva and the WTA for giving me every chance to play, and I also want to thank all the amazing fans here in the Cincinnati area for their support – it means so much. I promise I’ll do my best to be back here next year.”

It’s the latest setback in a string of tough losses and injury problems since Serena returned to the tour last year.

After finishing runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2018, Serena suffered a heartbreaking quarter-final loss to Karolina Pliskova from 5-1 up in the third set at the Australian Open, before withdrawing from three consecutive tournaments in Miami, Indian Wells and Rome due to a combination of knee injuries and illness.

Serena would go on to lose in the third round of the French Open to Sofia Kenin and go down 6-2 6-2 to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final, before last weekend’s retirement in the Rogers Cup final - which was the first time Serena had retired in a final since 2000.

"I'm sorry I couldn't do it today," Williams told the crowd through tears during the presentation ceremony. "I tried, but I just couldn't do it. ... It's been a tough year, but we'll keep going."

Serena, a two-time champion in Cincinnati, will now focus on getting back to full fitness ahead of the U.S. Open, which begins on August 26.

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Serena pulls out of Cincinnati after failing to recover from back injury

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati due to the back injury that forced her to retire from the Rogers Cup final on Sunday.

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