Maria Sharapova hasn't played since she lost to Sloane Stephens in Cincinnati. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from both next week's Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and the China Open in Beijing, citing the same injury -- shoulder bursitis -- that forced her to skip the U.S. Open, Tennis.com reports.
Currently ranked No. 3, Sharapova told Larry King last week that her goal is to play the WTA Championships at the end of the year in Istanbul, which begins on October 22. But the nature of shoulder bursitis, which simply requires rest to heal, makes her participation doubtful.
If Sharapova sits out the remainder of the season she could drop to as low as No. 5 by year's end. Both No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 5 Li Na are within shooting distance of overtaking Sharapova in the rankings, if they finish the season strong.
Any rush by Sharapova to come back in Istanbul to protect her ranking seems unlikely. The injury is in the same shoulder that required surgery in 2008. She will likely remain more patient and cautious this time around.
The Pan Pacific Open has been hit with a spate of withdrawals. Serena Williams, Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki and No. 19 Maria Kirilenko have all withdrawn from the tournament. As of now, the top four seeds in Tokyo are Victoria Azarenka, Radwanska, Sara Errani and Caroline Wozniacki.