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Sharapova out of Australian Open

DEFENDING champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to her slower than expected recovery following a shoulder injury.

Sharapova advised tournament officials yesterday that she would not be able to defend her title at Melbourne Park beginning next Monday. Her Australian Open triumph started an 18-match winning streak last season, enabling the Russian to briefly reclaim her No. 1 ranking in May. However, the shoulder injury hampered her progress, forcing her out of the Beijing Olympics and the US Open and ending her season.


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