MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A stomach virus caused world number two Maria Sharapova to pull out of the Acapulco International in Mexico just hours before her semi-final on Friday.
"I'm really sorry to have to withdraw," the top-seeded Russian said on her website (www.mariasharapova.com). "I had a great start to the event and was hoping I could recover in time for tonight's match but unfortunately it was not enough time.
"I want to thank the tournament for organizing such a great event and most importantly the fans who were so passionate during all my matches."
French Open champion Sharapova, winner of five grand slam titles, reached the last four of the hardcourt tournament with a 6-1 4-6 6-2 win over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova on Thursday.
Sharapova, who will next play at Indian Wells, California from March 11, was due to meet Caroline Garcia of France in the semi-finals.
Reporting by Carlos Calvo, writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Tony Jimenez