January 1, 2018 / 4:02 AM / a year ago

Tennis-Kvitova withdraws from Brisbane with viral illness

BRISBANE, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the Brisbane International with a viral illness on Monday.

The 27-year-old Czech was unable to take the court in her first round match against Estonian Anett Kontaveit and was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Heather Watson.

The former world number two required four hours of surgery on her left hand in December 2016 after being attacked by a man wielding a knife who had gained access to her apartment by posing as a utility worker.

Kvitova returned to action, after months of rehabilitation, during the French Open in May and went on to win the Aegon Classic in June.

She last played at the Tianjin Open in October and was preparing to open her 2018 season in Brisbane. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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