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Venus Williams withdraws from Sony Ericsson Championships; Sharapova and Hantuchova to play

Venus Williams, originally in seventh place in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships points standing, has been forced to withdraw. Williams suffered dizziness during the US Open earlier this year and has been told by doctors not to play in the November 6-11 Madrid event.

As you know, only eight singles players can compete for a share of the $3-million prize purse at the world’s richest annual women's sporting event. Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams and Anna Chakvetadze had qualified before. In my previous post I wrote that Maria Sharapova didn’t qualify because Daniela Hantuchova won the Generali Ladies Linz title, but now that Venus Williams has pulled out of the tournament, both the Russian and the Slovakian will play in Madrid.

This will be Sharapova’s fourth and Hantuchova’s second appearance in singles at the Sony Ericsson Championships. Sharapova was a champion at the event in 2004 and has been a semifinalist each of the last two years.

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