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Serena Williams seeded No. 1 for US Open; Sharapova withdraws

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams will be seeded No. 1 at the U.S. Open as she tries to do something she’s never done: win a second consecutive title at Flushing Meadows.

Williams is a four-time champion at the U.S. Open, including in 2012. Only Chris Evert, with six, and Steffi Graf, with five, have won the tournament more times in the Open era, which began in 1968.

The U.S. Tennis Association stuck to the WTA rankings Tuesday in announcing the 32 seeded women, including Victoria Azarenka at No. 2, and Maria Sharapova at No. 3.

But the day after the seedings, Sharapova pulled out of the U.S. Open on Wednesday because of a right shoulder injury. Sharapova has played only one match on tour since her second-round loss at Wimbledon in June.

The USTA announced the 2006 champion’s withdrawal and said 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanksa would shift from No. 4 to No. 3, and all other seeded players below her would move up a spot, too.

Williams is one of three seeded Americans; No. 16 Sloane Stephens and No. 24 Jamie Hampton are the others. Venus Williams, who won the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001, is the only unseeded past champion.

Earlier Wednesday, former top-10 player Mardy Fish of the United States withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing personal reasons. The USTA said Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova would become the No. 32 seed.

The draw for the year’s last Grand Slam tournament is Thursday. Play begins Monday.

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