World No 3 Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the end-of-season WTA Championship in Istanbul due to the shoulder injury that also kept her out of the US Open.
The 26-year-old Russian has not played since losing to Sloane Stephens in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in August.
“I am very disappointed I will not be able to play in the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championship this year,” Sharapova told the tour website. “The fans in Istanbul have welcomed us each year with such intense passion and warmth. I will sincerely miss the energy and excitement they bring to the year-end tournament.”
The four-times grand slam winner, who fired coach Jimmy Connors after just one match together following the defeat by Stephens, pulled out of the US Open held in August and September due to inflammation in her right shoulder.
Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Jelena Jankovic have joined world No 1 Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na in qualifying for the eight-player WTA Championship that begins on 22 October.
Sharapova’s place is still up for grabs through the rankings.
Elsewhere, third-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia defeated Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Japan Women’s Open. The 29-year-old Stosur didn’t face a break point on her serve and converted three of nine break points in the match at Ustubo Tennis Park.
Stosur has had previous success in the Osaka tournament. She won here in 2009, was runner-up in 2011 and a semi-finalist in 2012, compiling a 15-3 record in Osaka. In other first-round matches, seventh-seeded Monica Puig of Puerto Rico beat the defending champion, Britain’s Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-4, and fifth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada ousted Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-3, 6-0.
Top-seeded Jelena Jankovic pulled out, citing a left-hip injury. The Serbian player received medical treatment in the second set of her 6-2, 6-2 loss to Serena Williams in Sunday’s final of the China Open in Beijing.
Meanwhile David Ferrer has become the fourth player to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. The 31-year-old Spaniard will return to the O2 Arena for the fourth straight year for the eight-man tournament, which begins on 4 November. Ferrer joins Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray in securing his place, although the Scot is expected to pull out following back surgery.
Ferrer said: “I’m very happy to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth time. “At the beginning of the year it’s always a goal to make it to London and if you finish in the top eight then you know that you’ve had a good season. The O2 is an amazing venue to play at and the great fans help to bring the event alive.”
Ferrer’s best performance at the tournament came on his debut in Shanghai in 2007, when he lost to Roger Federer in the final. The world No 4 reached his first grand slam final this season, losing to Nadal at the French Open, but his form has dipped since.