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AUSBOY
Dec 30th, 2004, 08:10 AM
Former world number three Mary Pierce has withdrawn from this week's ASB Classic for medical reasons.

It was unclear whether Pierce was still suffering from the stomach injury which kept her out of France's Fed Cup final clash with Russia in Moscow last month.

ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer said losing the event's third seed was a big blow.

"Mary's withdrawal is extremely disappointing however it is a reality in sport at all levels that players do get injured," he said.

"Already most of the players are in Auckland. A number have been in the city for several days practising. The tournament still has a top-class field."

Russian Alina Jidkova, ranked 55, will move into the eighth seed position as a result of Pierce's absence.