August 14, 2019 / 1:40 AM / 8 days ago

Serena withdraws from Cincinnati Masters with back problems

FILE PHOTO: Aug 11, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Serena Williams (USA) serves against Bianca Andreescu (Canada)during the womens final of the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Serena Williams withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday due to back problems just days after spasms forced her to retire from the Rogers Cup final in Toronto.

“I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” the 23-times Grand Slam champion said.

“But unfortunately my back is still not right.”

Williams, twice champion at the Cincinnati Masters, had been hoping to use the tournament as a final tune-up ahead of this month’s U.S. Open.

She had been in menacing form in Toronto before retiring early in the first set of the final against Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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