Dec 21 Former world number two Vera Zvonareva of Russia has pulled out of the Australian Open with a shoulder injury, organisers of the opening grand slam of the season said on Friday.
"Sorry to report that Vera Zvonareva has withdrawn from the AO due to a continuing right shoulder injury," organisers of the Jan. 14-27 event said on their Twitter account.
The injury-prone 28-year-old 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist will also miss the Auckland Classic starting on Dec. 31.
Tournament director Karl Budge lamented world number 96 Zvonareva's last minute withdrawal but insisted the Auckland tournament still enjoyed a strong field.
"We have six top 30 players gracing our courts in just over a week's time headlined by world number four Agnieszka Radwanska, who is in world-beating form.
"We also have three former champions competing with 2003 and 2004 winner Elena Daniilidou given a wildcard yesterday," he added.
Zheng Jie of China will be defending her title in Auckland. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)