LUXEMBOURG - Former World No.1s Angelique Kerber (leg) and Maria Sharapova (shoulder) are out of the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open due to injury, the tournament announced on Thursday.
Their vacancy moves a pair of young Americans, 15-year-old Coco Gauff and 17-year-old Caty McNally into the main draw.
Sharapova had originally taken a wildcard into Luxembourg in hopes of making her comeback to tennis after a lingering shoulder injury had kept her off of the courts since August.
Read more: Sharapova out of Linz due to shoulder injury
“For a few months this year the shoulder felt quite good, during the lead-up on the grass,” Sharapova previously told press after withdrawing with the same injury in Linz. “But I played a hard match on cement in Canada and that hurt me for the next few weeks.”
Earlier in the season, Sharapova took a break from the tour to undergo and recover from a ‘minor’ shoulder surgery after the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy in February, returning to the courts in June. In August, Sharapova reportedly aggravated her shoulder in Toronto, and hasn’t competed since the US Open.
While the move effectively ends Sharapova’s 2019 season, Kerber, who struggled with a leg injury in Beijing, remains in contention for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
Their absence opens the door for Gauff and McNally, a pair of young Americans, to enter the main draw.
Gauff,15, first turned heads this year at Wimbledon, where she powered through the qualifying draw and knocked out Venus Williams on her way to the round of 16. She reached the third round of the US Open, falling to Naomi Osaka in straight sets, but backed up the result in Linz, where’s reached her first WTA quarterfinal. As a result, Gauff is poised to become the youngest member of the WTA’s Top 100.
Together, Gauff and McNally are a regular doubles duo and claimed their first WTA title in Washington DC. The American duo also reached the third round at the US Open.
In Luxembourg, Gauff and McNally will join the ranks of Elise Mertens, Julia Goerges, Camila Giorgi, Monica Puig and more at the Internernational-level event, which will run October 14 to 20.