China's Peng Shuai has pulled out of the Hong Kong Open after her US Open dream ended in agony while Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard has also withdrawn, organisers said Saturday. (Also read: Still a Proud Indian, Says Sania Mirza)
The double withdrawal deals a major blow to the inaugural tournament, which is bringing top-flight women's tennis to the southern Chinese city for the first time since 1993. (Nishikori carrying weight of expectation in US Open)
World number eight Bouchard was set to be the highest-ranked player and the main drawcard at the $250,000 WTA event, which starts on Monday, while it was hoped Peng would also pull in the crowds. (In US Open Women's semifinals, 2 players are in a new setting)
"I am really disappointed not to be able to play," the Canadian Bouchard said in a statement released by organisers.
"I had been very much looking forward to it but unfortunately my medical team has advised me that I need to take the next two weeks off from competition to rest and recover after a very long season."
Bouchard caused a storm this summer when she finished runner-up at Wimbledon but sparked a different kind of drama at the US Open when she had to have her blood pressure and temperature taken on court.
The 20-year-old complained of being light-headed and dizzy in the New York humidity and called a medical timeout during her last-16 clash with Serena Williams, which she ultimately lost.
On Friday, Peng was forced to retire during her semi-final against Caroline Wozniacki after collapsing with a heat-related illness.
Peng was trailing the Dane 7-6 (7/1) 4-3 when she needed to leave the Arthur Ashe Stadium to seek treatment -- believed then to be for cramp -- and play was held up for 10 minutes.
The two-time Grand Slam doubles champion returned, played a few points but then collapsed to the ground and was taken off court in tears and in a wheelchair.
"She will not be able to play but she will meet all her other media and social obligations," Hong Kong Open tournament director Kenneth Low said in the statement.
Germany's Sabine Lisicki will take up one of the slots left open by the last-minute withdrawals, organisers added.