In a statement that was both expected, yet still somewhat surprising, world No. 3 and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open on Sunday, about 18 hours before the tournament was set to begin.
It’s the second time in three years that Sharapova has had to pull out of the Open due to injury, but only the fourth since making her major debut in 2003.
As with everything that happens in the women’s bracket over the next fortnight, the immediate question after the Sharapova withdrawal was about the woman all eyes are upon in New York: How does this affect Serena Williams?
And surprisingly, I think the answer is poorly. Sharapova was drawn into Serena’s half of the draw, meaning the two would have faced off in a potential semifinal. There would have been five potential stumbling blocks for each woman before getting to that potential match — small…
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