Brisbane International loses stars to injury
Brisbane International organisers have been hit by the double withdrawal of drawcards Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep with injury.
Sharapova, the tournament's third seed and defending champion, was due to play fellow Russian Ekaterina Makerova yesterday but pulled out with a left forearm injury.
Top-seeded Halep was to play Victoria Azarenka in round two but succumbed to a leg injury.
It puts both players' Australian Open campaigns at risk, the major starting on January 18.
"I hurt my forearm in practice a couple days ago and need to precautionary withdraw with the Australian Open starting," Sharapova said.
"Brisbane International is such a special event especially being defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans next year."
The withdrawals were further bad news for tournament officials after Australian players Sam Groth, John-Patrick Smith and Ben Mitchell were beaten on Monday night.
Groth lost 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 to South Korean teenager Hyeon Chung, while Mitchell missed out on a date with Roger Federer in round two today after losing to Tobias Kamke 6-2 6-4. Smith went out 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to American Denis Kudla.
The hits kept coming yesterday with another Aussie, James Duckworth, losing in three sets to eighth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3 4-6 3-6.
Roberta Vinci moved into the women's quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-1 success over 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova.