Kvitova, Radwanska pull out of Sydney International

SYDNEY: Defending champion Petra Kvitova and second seed Agnieszka Radwanska are the latest stars to have troubled buildups to this month’s Australian Open after pulling out of the Sydney International on Sunday.

Third-seeded Czech Kvitova will not be able to defend her Sydney title after succumbing to a gastrointestinal illness, which plagued her in China last week.

Poland’s Radwanska joined Kvitova after withdrawing from the Sydney tournament with a left leg injury.

Their withdrawals from the final lead-up tournament to the year’s first grand slam event came after injury problems at other Australian tournaments for the world’s top-four ranked stars Serena Williams (knee), Simona Halep (Achilles), Garbine Muguruza (foot) and Maria Sharapova (forearm).

“I’m really disappointed to hae to withdraw from the Sydney International but unfortunately I am still not feeling well,” Kvitova said.

It is the second consecutive event from which the world number six has withdrawn in the new year. She retired with a stomach virus during the first round of the Shenzhen Open in China last week.