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Sharapova withdraws from Italian Open with illness

Friday - 5/17/2013, 6:32am  ET

Russia's Maria Sharapova returns the ball to US Sloane Stephens during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Thursday, May 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) -- Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn before her Italian Open quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Sara Errani because of illness.

The announcement comes less than 10 days before the start of the French Open, the year's second Grand Slam, which starts May 26.

Sharapova says on Twitter that she "didn't recover after being sick last week and it got me again last night."

Sharapova showed no problems as she beat 16th-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1 Thursday, and she was runner-up to Serena Williams in last week's Madrid Open.

The withdrawal means Errani advances to the semifinals. Her opponent will be either third-seeded Victoria Azarenka or ninth-seeded Sam Stosur.

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