Serena Williams has decided to withdraw from the 2018 China Open following on from her controversial end to the US Open earlier this year.
The former world number one and 23-time Grand Slam champion, Williams hasn’t officially said anything about the reason behind her call but her coach Patrick Mouratoglou posted a message on his Twitter which stated the same.
He retweeted the following:
Serena Williams has decided to withdraw from the China Open in Beijing, moving Ekaterina Makarova into the main draw. Having reached the final at Wimbledon and the US Open, the 23-time major singles champ ends her 2018 season with a 18-6 singles record.
— Parsa (@Parsa_Nemati) September 25, 2018
What that means is Williams ends the season on the back of a controversial US Open final that saw her lose to Naomi Osaka after she had been defaulted a point and a game at different times during the second set.
She came back from her maternity leave earlier this year at the Indian Wells Open before featuring in her first Grand Slam since her comeback at Roland-Garros. She reached the fourth round where she was to take on Maria Sharapova but withdrew from the match because of fitness issues.
A withdrawal from the China Open means Williams would be left without any points to add to her current tally, thereby making it impossible for her to qualify for the year-ending WTA Finals that will be played in second half of October this year.
It remains tor be seen what will be Williams’ first tournament back in the new year but there are talks of featuring at the Brisbane Open in the lead-up to the season’s first major in Melbourne. In 2017, before she had won her last Grand Slam title, Williams had participated at the Auckland Open, while going into the 2016 edition of the Australian Open with a match at the Hopman Cup.
Williams’ withdrawal from the China Open allows Ekaterina Makarova to move into the main draw of the competition. Also opting out of the competition is former world number two Agnieszka Radwanska.
Radwanska has slipped to outside the WTA top 50 rankings and will probably look to come back refreshed next season. Her replacement in the China Open draw is Kirsten Flipkens.