American tennis ace Serena Williams announced that she was withdrawing from an Australian Open tuneup tournament due to an injury she suffered to her right shoulder. The announcement came just a few hours after she had set up a mouth-watering semifinal clash against Ashleigh Barty.
Serena is not known to play in tournaments just before Grand Slams but this year, she made an exception due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of match-time on court. This was her first tournament since she withdrew from the French Open last year with an Achilles injury. She took part in the Yarra Valley Classic this week and notched up three wins including a thrilling 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 tie-breaker win against American Danielle Collins.
Ash Barty to get a walkover into the final
Meanwhile, due to Serena’s withdrawal, her opponent Ash Barty will get a straight walkover into the final which has now been pushed back by a day. 70 matches were supposed to take place on Friday after a plethora of postponements to matches in six tournaments due to a worker testing positive for COVID-19 at a quarantine hotel. Fortunately, all other tests returned negative results.
For the purpose of getting done with matches quicker, as many as 17 courts were used and women’s matches were changed to have just two sets. If the match ended 1-1, there would be a tie-breaker where 10 points were required to win. Like with Serena, Barty also had to win via a tiebreaker as she beat Shelby Rogers 7-5, 2-6, 10-4.
The winner of the other semi-final between Garbine Muguruza and Marketa Vondrousova will face Barty in the final.