Illness forces Venus Williams And Sharapova withdrawal from WTA Cincinnati

Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams were big-name withdrawals from the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati on Tuesday as they attempt to fully recover from injury and illness ahead of the U.S. Open.

Russian second seed Sharapova, who has yet to play since a semi-final defeat at Wimbledon last month, cited a leg injury for her exit.

"It's a tough decision to make but I think it's the right decision to be ready for the U.S. Open," Sharapova told reporters.

"It's not ideal preparation for New York, but that's the circumstance and I obviously want to give myself the best chance to be healthy there. That's the wisest move right now."

Williams was forced to pull out due to a viral illness, something that had bothered her in Monday's victory over Zarina Diyas, denying fans an attractive second round encounter between the American and former number one Ana Ivanovic.

"(It would) have been a tough match for both of us," Serbia's Ivanovic tweeted. "I hope she can get well fast."

The U.S. Open begins on August 31 and will be covered extensively by the Joy Sports team.
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