Russia’s Vera Zvonareva has been forced to pull out of January’s Australian Open with a recurrence of her shoulder injury.
Zvonareva is unfortunate to miss her favoured tournament, which is now headed up in the betting by Serena Williams at 6/4.
If playing, Zvonareva would have been amongst the challengers in Melbourne next month after making the semi-finals of the competition in both 2009 and 2011.
But the former world number 2 suffered an injury-hit 2012, missing the US Open with a viral illness and the French Open with the shoulder complaint that is currently keeping her sidelined.
Despite having never won a grand slam in singles tennis, she has won four titles across doubles and mixed doubles, including the 2012 Australian Open with compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Zvonereva favours the hard court and would have been a tough opponent in the state of Victoria, even though she hasn’t played a tournament since August and has dropped to the low ranking of 96.
The Moscow-born right hander took to her Facebook page to reveal the news, which is sadly all-too-familiar for fans of the 28-year-old.
“Hey everyone…some bad news,” said Zvonereva.
“I will not be able to go to Australia this year. My body is not 100% recovered yet and I want to start when I know I can play the rest of the year.
“I keep working hard to get healthy. Thank you for all your support!”
Zvonereva’s absence will not be sorely missed by some of her would-be opponents, who haven’t enjoyed the best of times against the Russian.
Francesca Schiavone has lost every professional match against Zvonereva, while Victoria Azarenka has a mixed record against the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.
Azarenka is now second-place in the Australian Open betting market and can be backed at 10/3 for success.
Two players that have managed to get the better of Zvonerva more often that not are Agnieszka Radwanska and Sam Stosur.
They are both available at 25/1 to win in Australia, with Li Na also on offer at that price.
Shorter odds are available for emerging Czech Republic star Petra Kvitova at 10/1 and Aussie champion of 2008 Maria Sharapova at 6/1.
Caroline Wozniacki – girlfirend of Rory McIlroy – hit the headlines recently for an unflattering impersonation of Serena Williams, and will have to come from 33/1 if she is to end the month of January as a winner.
British supporters will be hoping Laura Robson continues her rapid progression, although odds of 66/1 suggest triumphing down under may be asking too much.
Zvonereva is still available at 66/1 for victory, but any hint of a late comeback for the Australian tournament appears to have extinguished.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.