Injury-hit Maria Sharapova withdrew from next week’s Luxembourg WTA tournament on Thursday, opening the door instead for American teenager Coco Gauff, widely seen as one of the veteran Russian star’s future successors as a Grand Slam champion.
Five-time Major winner and former world No 1 Sharapova, 32, has been carrying a shoulder injury and hasn’t played since a first-round exit at the US Open.
With the world No 137 out of Luxembourg, and turning her attentions to the 2020 season, 15-year-old Gauff moves into the main draw for the event which starts next Monday.
Gauff, who electrified Wimbledon by coming through qualifying on her way to the last-16 in July and then made the third round at the US Open, reached her first WTA quarter-final in Linz in Austria on Wednesday, assuring herself of a place in the world top 100 for the first time.
Also out of Luxembourg is Germany’s world number 13 Angelique Kerber who has a leg injury.