Maria Sharapova has pulled out of next week's Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in an effort to ensure she is able to participate at the U.S. Open that starts at the end of this month.
The former World No. 1, now placed 149 in the rankings, continues to be troubled by an injury to her left forearm that she initially suffered at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and which forced her withdrawal after winning her first-round encounter.
She sat out the Rogers Cup in Toronto and will be absent in Cincinnati as she focuses on being fully fit for the final major of the year at Flushing Meadows, where she would need a wild card to compete.
Sharapova said in quotes on the WTA Tour's official website: "I arrived in Cincinnati eager to play. However, following the doctor's advice on-site, as a precaution for the U.S. Open, I am unfortunately withdrawing from the tournament with the left forearm injury I sustained in Stanford.
"I want to thank the tournament for the wild card opportunity and really look forward to competing here next year."
The 2011 champion was set to play French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in a highly-anticipated first round clash, but the world number 12 will instead go up against either a qualifier or lucky loser.