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Kuznetsova unable to defend Washington title over 'visa issues'

Kuznetsova unable to defend Washington title over 'visa issues'
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 2, 2018 Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in action during the first round match against Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova REUTERS/Tony O'Brien/File Photo -
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Tony O'Brien(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Svetlana Kuznetsova said on Thursday she will not be able to defend her title at next week’s Citi Open in Washington, D.C. due to issues with obtaining a U.S. visa.

The 34-year-old Russian, a twice Grand Slam winner who is 108th in the world rankings, announced her withdrawal from the July 27-Aug. 4 event on her Instagram account.

“Unfortunately I had to pull out of Washington due to my problems with US visa,” Kuznetsova wrote. “Wanted to apologise to all my fans who were waiting for me there.

“Never had issues like this in my life , hopefully one day I can finally get a visa and play at least some events of the US swing!”

The WTA did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

Kuznetsova, who won the U.S. Open in 2004 and French Open in 2009, collected the most recent of her 18 WTA singles titles last year in the U.S. capital when she saved four match points to beat Croatian Donna Vekic.

The Russian has lost the opening match in each of her last three tournaments, including at Wimbledon and the French Open.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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