Joao Sousa withdraws from Moscow, set to be replaced by 2015 semi-finalist


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Joao Sousa withdraws from Moscow, set to be replaced by 2015 semi-finalist

Portuguese tennis star Joao Sousa has withdrawn from next week's VTB Kremlin Cup. The 29-year-old has played in Moscow two times so far in his career. The Portuguese was expected to return to the Moscow event after a two-year absence.

Sousa, ranked at No. 43 in the world, debuted in Moscow five years ago in 2013 Back then, the Portuguese lost to Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round. Sousa's second appearance in Moscow came three years ago -- when he was also beaten in the opening round -- but this time by Spaniard Daniel Gimeno Traver.

Former world No. 29 Sousa last played at the Rolex Shanghai Masters -- where he failed to clinch a main draw through the qualifying event. The Portuguese beat Zhizhen Zhang in his Shanghai qualifying opener, before he was defeated by French Benoit Paire in the qualifying final round.

Meanwhile, a place in the a Moscow main draw has opened for local Event Donskoy following the withdrawal of Sousa.

The 28-year-old is set to make his 10th Moscow main draw appearance.

The Russian also played at the tournament in 2007 and 2010 -- when he failed to reach the main draw through the qualifying event. Donskoy's best-ever result in Moscow came three years ago -- when he reached the semi-final before losing to 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic Also read: Nick Kyrgios takes wildcard into Moscow