Tennis

Pliskova pulls out of Sydney

World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova has withdrawn from the Sydney International with a left thigh injury, tournament organisers said yesterday.

The Czech, who was the fourth seed for the Sydney event, demolished France's Alize Cornet 6-0, 6-3 to win the Brisbane International on Saturday.

As her withdrawal came before the start of the first match, Italian Roberta Vinci as the next eligible seed took Pliskova's spot, organisers said.

Pliskova will leapfrog Dominika Cibulkova to become world No. 5 when the new rankings are released today.

Pliskova is one of the favourites for the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne next week. She was runner-up to world No. 1 Angelique Kerber at last year's US Open.

Pliskova was joined on the sidelines by Ukraine's world No. 14 Elina Svitolina, who withdrew citing a viral illness.

Meanwhile, Svetlana Kuznetsova opened the defence of her Sydney International title with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu yesterday. Kuznetsova will next face the winner of the match between local favourite Sam Stosur and fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard also won her opening match with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 first-round win over China's Zhang Shuai. - WIRE SERVICES

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