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Sharapova sidelined for six weeks with elbow injury

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Originally published on: 19/03/10 11:48

After the withdrawal of Dinara Safina and Nikolay Davydenko, Maria Sharapova has become the latest Russian to pull out of Miami’s Sony Ericsson Open after injuring her elbow.

After picking up the injury during her third round defeat to China’s Zheng Jie in Indian Wells, the 22-year-old could miss up to six weeks of action after an MRI scan “revealed a bone bruise in her right elbow,” according to a statement released on her official website.

The news represents a major blow for Sony Ericsson, given that Sharapova is a brand ambassador for the chief sponsor of the Miami tournament.

Sharapova had been due to compete on the Florida coast for the first time since 2007 after missing the event for the previous two years after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. During that time she was ruled out with a rotator cuff tear and fell out of the top 100 for the first time in six years.

The former world No.1 – who recently signed a £62million extension to her Nike contract – has played just six matches in 2010, five of which came during her successful run at the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, where she picked up her 21st career title.

If her latest injury troubles do keep her sidelined for the full six weeks, Sharapova could return in Rome on 3 May or in Madrid the following week.

Fellow former world No.1 Dinara Safina has also been forced out of the Miami tournament after continuing to struggle with an ongoing back injury. The three-time Grand Slam finalist had featured in every Sony Ericsson Open since 2003, but could only manage a third round berth last year after losing in straight sets to Aussie Sam Stosur.

Even so, Safina’s continued absence from competition could see her plummet down the rankings. The 23-year-old has a host of points to defend in upcoming tournaments having reached the final in Stuttgart, and won in Rome and Madrid, before making the final of the French Open.

In the men’s competition, 2008 champion Nikolay Davydenko will miss the Miami event for a second consecutive year after a wrist fracture forced the 28-year-old to retire ahead of his third round encounter with Viktor Troicki in Indian Wells.

The Russian missed the opportunity to defend his title last year after suffering a foot infection.

World No.13 Maria Sharapova has confirmed that she will return to Birmingham for the Aegon Classic this summer, aiming for a third title after winning the event in 2004 and 2005. “I’m really looking forward to returning to The Edgbaston Priory Club to compete for the title at this important time in the grass court season in the lead up to The Championships, Wimbledon,” Sharapova said.

“I love playing at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. The venue is very intimate and the crowd is great and so supportive.”

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