Serena Williams withdrew from the Yarra Valley Classic semi-finals on Friday due to a shoulder injury, just days before the American begins her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Williams had advanced to a mouth-watering semi-final clash against world number one Ash Barty after getting past Danielle Collins 6-2 4-6 (10-6) and while she showed no sign of discomfort the WTA Tour later said the 39-year-old was pulling out with a right shoulder injury.
Barty had also needed a super tiebreaker to beat Shelby Rogers 7-5 2-6 (10-4) in her quarter-final.
Super tiebreakers are being played after two sets in all WTA matches as organisers look to clear a backlog caused by Thursday’s suspension of play after a worker at one of the Melbourne quarantine hotels contracted COVID-19.
In the other half of the Yarra Valley draw, Garbine Muguruza dumped Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin out of the tournament 6-2 6-2 in a re-match of last year’s Grand Slam final at Melbourne Park.
Muguruza will next play Marketa Vondrousova after the Czech took down Nadia Podoroska 4-6 6-3 (10-4).
At the Gippsland Trophy, world number two Simona Halep suffered a surprise 6-2 6-1 defeat to Ekaterina Alexandrova.—AP