World number 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova has become the latest player to withdraw from the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, to be held in Stuttgart next week.
Frenchwoman Alize Cornet is to replace the Russian in the draw
Second Year In A Row For Kuznetsova
Having to withdraw will undoubtedly be a blow for Kuznetsova, who has shown some promising form in 2016; The Russian reached the final in Miami just last week and also won the title in Sydney earlier this year.
Kuznetsova would have undoubtedly been a threat in Stuttgart. The former world number two has had success on clay in the past, winning the 2009 French Open, and won the tournament in Stuttgart that year; the first time that the tournament was played on clay. In recent years, she has recorded wins over the likes of Simona Halep in Stuttgart.
However, it is important for Kuznetsova to make sure she is completely fit for the first big clay tournament of the year in Madrid, where she is defending finalist points from last year.
Opportunity For Cornet
It is not necessarily the way she would have wanted to get into the draw, though Cornet will certainly be grateful to get in.
Cornet has missed two months of this season due to injury and will be looking for ranking points as she tries to move back into the top 30 and get seeded for her home Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros.
Clay is not necessarily Cornet's strongest surface, though she is always an potentially dangerous player.
Sharapova And Keys Also Withdraw
Keys, who has had an erratic season so far, has withdrawn so she can practice more and work on her game. She has been replaced by the tricky Monica Niculescu in the draw.