Former World No 1 Venus Williams has automatically advanced to the ASB Classic tennis final in Auckland after opponent and compatriot Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal Friday due to an injury. Williams will face former Grand Slam champion Ana Ivanovic in the title clash.
Organisers of the ASB Classic issued a brief statement just hours before the pair was due on center court at Auckland's ASB Tennis Arena, saying World No 28 Hampton had withdrawn, but giving no details of the injury, reports Xinhua.
However, it was reported that Hampton had injured her hip in a warm-up earlier in the day and had decided to withdraw in order to compete in the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, starting next week.
Meanwhile, Ivanovic secured her place in the final after a hard-fought semi-final battle against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens in the semi-final play-off.
The Serbian took just 21 minutes to win the first set 6-0 after making just two unforced errors against 13 by Flipkens.
Flipkens fought back in the second set, holding serve until the tiebreak, when she ceded points on service.
Despite losing the early advantage with a double fault, Ivanovic took four consecutive points to take control of the tiebreak, winning the 50-minute set 7-6.
Ivanovic and Williams, who are both playing in New Zealand for the first time, have been the star attractions of the Auckland tournament, which ends with the final Saturday.