Gavrilova smiles as Sharapova exits Open

Maria Sharapova’s withdrawal from the US Open will bring welcome relief to Australia’s Daria Gavrilova.

The Melburnian was due to meet the tournament’s No.2 seed in the opening round but will now meet lucky loser Daria Kastkina.

Five-time major champion Sharapova pulled out on the eve of the tournament citing a leg injury.

The Russian has not played a match since losing to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals in July.

She withdrew from hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati in August, citing a right leg strain.

It’s the second time in three years that the 2006 champion has withdrawn from the year’s last Grand Slam event.

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