Serena Williams withdraws from Italian Open….

Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Italian Open with an Achilles injury that troubled her in Thursday’s US Open semi-final defeat.

The 38-year-old American was beaten by Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows to miss out on her latest chance of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam. She took a medical timeout early in the third set to have her left ankle re-taped because of the Achilles issue. The Rome event, starting on Monday, is two weeks before the French Open. Immediately after her US Open defeat Williams said she would play at the French Open, where she will get another chance to match Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record. “I’m so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon,” the former world number one said in a statement. Other players to withdraw are 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, world number one Ashleigh Barty and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Meanwhile, Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Germany’s Alexander Zverev – who will contest Sunday’s US Open men’s singles final – have also pulled out of the Italian event.

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