Serena pulls out of tie against Sania

Serena Williams will miss the United States' opening match against Sania Mirza at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Saturday.

updated: December 29, 2007 13:17 IST
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India's prospect in the inaugural Hopman Cup encounter against formidable United States brightened with Serena Williams pulling out of the match against Sania Mirza scheduled on Saturday.

The Australian Open Champion is suffering from a mild illness and will arrive for the tournament on Sunday, organisers said on official website.

Sania will now take on substitute Meghann Shaughnessy, who is 21 rungs lower than the Indian at 52, in the first singles match of the tie.

Shaughnessy, however, has twice got the better of Sania in three meetings so far.

"It's great that Serena is still playing in Perth. Meghann is a good substitute coming off her appearance in the final of the 2007 US Open Mixed Doubles and a strong year in singles," Tournament Director, Paul McNamee said.

Rohan Bopanna will play Mardy Fish in the men's singles before the mixed doubles match between the pairs.

After the Group B tie against United States on Saturday, India will play Czech Republic and hosts Australia on January 1 and 3 respectively.

As per the tournament rules, Serena will be eligible to play the next Group match as substitutions are allowed between ties.