Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Injured Venus Williams withdraws from ASB Classic

Venus Williams of USA signs autographs after defeating New Zealander Jade Lewisat the ASB Classic, Photo/NZ Herald
Venus Williams of USA signs autographs after defeating New Zealander Jade Lewisat the ASB Classic, Photo/NZ Herald

Venus Williams has been forced to withdraw from the ASB Classic through injury.

The former world number one experienced pain in her right arm during her tough first- round win over Kiwi teen Jade Lewis today and was deemed unfit to continue in the tournament she has starred in for the past four years.

Williams was due to back up against impressive Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka later this evening, but has forfeited that match.

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge said he was gutted Williams' tournament had to end this way.

"She wasn't able to serve as she would like to and at the level that we have come to expect from Venus, and unfortunately that has taken her away from the tournament this year," said Budge.

"It's obviously disappointing and a blow to the ASB Classic, but I think if any player deserves a little bit of grace, it is probably Venus Williams. We owe her a hell of a lot for what she has done for this tournament over the years."

"I love this tournament and I'm really sad I have to withdraw," said Williams. "But I'm really happy to have had the opportunity to be here again this year."

Her withdrawal means Osaka is the first progress to tomorrow's quarter-finals, where she faces the winner between eight-seeded Croatian Ana Konjuh and former champion Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.

- NZ Herald

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