Italy's Errani hit with two-month doping ban

AFP
The 30-year-old former world No. 5, who reached the French Open final in 2012, tested positive for the banned substance letrozole in an out-of-competition test in February.
AFP
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Sara Errani reacts during her first-round match against Risa Ozaki at the Australian Open in Melbourne in this January 17, 2017, photo.

Italy's Sara Errani has been suspended for two months after failing a doping test, the International Tennis Federation announced on Monday.

The 30-year-old former world No. 5, who reached the French Open final in 2012, tested positive for the banned substance letrozole in an out-of-competition test in February.

Letrozole is used in the treatment of breast cancer, but can also be used as a masking agent.

"An Independent Tribunal ... has found that Sara Errani committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation ... and, as a consequence, has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two months, commencing on 3 August 2017," the ITF said in a statement.

Errani's results between February and June have been wiped out and she has forfeited all prize money and ranking points that she accumulated during that period.

Errani reached her highest world ranking of five in 2013, but has since slipped to No. 98.

In a statement posted on her Twitter page, she wrote: "I never took, in my life and during my career, any prohibited substance.

"However, this substance (letrozole) is present in Femara, a medicine my mother has been using daily since 2012 for therapeutic purpose, further to a surgery for breast cancer, and therefore is present in the house where I am currently living."

Errani said she was likely to have consumed the drug via "accidental food contamination".

She said she was "very frustrated" and "extremely disappointed" by the outcome of the ITF tribunal, but was nonetheless "at peace with my conscience and aware I haven't done anything wrong".

Italian rower Niccolo Mornati, a four-time medalist at the world championships, tested positive in 2016 for the same substance.

China Open

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova has accepted an invitation to make her seventh appearance at the China Open in Beijing.

The five-time Grand Slam champion missed Wimbledon and the entire grasscourt season with a thigh injury, then was forced to withdraw from her comeback tournament in Stanford with an arm injury last week.

The Russian has still only played four tournaments since returning in April from a 15-month doping ban for the use of meldonium.

"I'm very happy to announce that I will return to Beijing and play the China Open this October," the 30-year-old said in a statement. "This is especially exciting as it will be my first tournament in Asia this year!"

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and home favorites Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai will also take part in the Beijing event, which runs from September 24 to October 8.

Also, Madison Keys, fresh from her victory at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, has moved up four places to 17th in the WTA rankings released on Monday.

Losing finalist Coco Vandeweghe, 25, and also American, rises to 20th place, up four places, as the leading rankings remain unchanged with Karolina Pliskova topping the table ahead of Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber.

Sam Querrey surged into the top 20 after his win in Los Cabos, Mexico, in the latest ATP tennis world rankings released on Monday.

American Querrey jumped four places to 20th while the top of the tables remained stable, topped by Murray with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer second and third.


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