Two time Australian Open finalist Na Li has pulled out of the big ticket event of the Middle East - the Qatar Open citing the same ankle injury which drastically hampered her movement during her defeat at the hands of world no.1 Victoria Azarenka in the final at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
The world no.5 Li's withdrawal from the tournament also means that she will not have a chance of avenging her loss to the Belarusian as she will now not be able to square-off against Vika, who will be the top seed at the competition starting Monday. Twice victor of the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific Azarenka will be playing in her first tourney since her historic triumph on Australia Day, when she became only the 8th women to defend her crown at the Victorian capital.
"Li Na has withdrawn from @QatarTennis due to her ankle injury from the Australian Open final. #WTA #tennis," the WTA posted on its Twitter account.
The organizers have declared that the Chinese player’s place will be granted to Timea Babos of Hungary in the main draw. This is the second big blow for the WTA event as seven times Major winner Venus Williams had departed from the tournament as well due to severe pain in her back. Still, the field in the desert is strong as nine of the top 10 performers of the women’s tour will be enthralling the crowd with their splendid stroke-play throughout the next week.