WTA

Defending champion Rybakina withdraws from Italian Open due to illness

By Sports Desk May 10, 2024

Defending champion Elena Rybakina has been forced to withdraw from the Italian Open due to illness.

Rybakina has enjoyed a fine start to 2024, boasting a 30-5 record and capturing three WTA titles to match Iga Swiatek for the most of any player on the tour.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion won her second WTA 1000 title in Rome last year, defeating Swiatek and Jelena Ostapenko en route to the final, which she won by virtue of a walkover after taking the opening set, due to an injury to Anhelina Kalinina.

The Kazakhstani was set to open her title defence against Irina-Camelia Begu on Friday, but lucky loser Oceane Dodin took her place after she felt too unwell to play.

The world number four said: "Unfortunately I do not feel well enough to compete. I have such good memories from last year and was looking forward to defending my title.

"Rome is so special to me, and I look forward to being back next year to reclaim my title and play in front of the Italian fans."

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