Injured Mertens pulls out of WTA event

·1-min read

Belgian Elise Mertens has withdrawn from the season-opening WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi with a right shoulder injury, placing her in doubt for the Australian Open.

The world No.20 was drawn to meet Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in her first round match in the United Arab Emirates and will be replaced by Greek lucky loser Valentini Grammatikopoulou.

Mertens, 25, also pulled out from the doubles in which she was to partner Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Her withdrawal now casts a doubt on her participation in the year's opening grand slam in Melbourne which starts on February 8.