Mauresmo and Sharapova pull out of Italian Open
ROME, May 14: World number one Amelie Mauresmo will not defend her Italian Open title because of illness, organisers said on the eve of the tournament today.
Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova had also pulled out of the Rome event with an injury to her right foot, they said.
Frenchwoman Mauresmo won the last two editions of the Open but suffered her heaviest defeat of 2006 yesterdday when she was beaten 6-1 6-2 by Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne in the semi-finals of the Berlin claycourt event.
In Mauresmo's absence, Belgium's Kim Clijsters takes over the number one seeding in Rome.
Russian Sharapova had been seeded fourth and had hoped to help her preparations for the French Open, which starts on May 29, by bettering last year's semi-final finish in the Italian capital.