Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Wuhan Open, as well as the China Open, with a shoulder injury. Williams, 34, has been troubled by the problem with her right shoulder since winning Wimbledon, her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, in July. She says her focus is now on being fit enough to play in the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore from 23 October. Her recent defeat by Karolina Pliskova at the US Open ended Williams’ 186-week run as world number one.
She had equalled Steffi Graf’s record for the longest reign at the top of the women’s rankings. The defeat against Pliskova in the semi-final at Flushing Meadows, though, saw Williams’ place taken by eventual champion Angelique Kerber. The Wuhan Open starts on Sunday and runs to next Saturday, with the China Open starting the following Monday. The American’s withdrawal from the tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing have reduced her chances of reclaiming the number one spot from Kerber before the end of 2016.