Belinda Bencic out of Dubai after getting diagnosed with 'something' in her lungs

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Belinda Bencic out of Dubai after getting diagnosed with 'something' in her lungs

World No. 24 Belinda Bencic has withdrawn from Dubai. Bencic, 24, won't be making her sixth Dubai appearance this year. Bencic debuted at the Dubai event in 2015, when she made the second round. Bencic's best result in Dubai came in 2019, when she beat Petra Kvitova in the final to lift her maiden Dubai title.

Bencic played in Dubai last year, but didn't impress as she suffered a surprise loss in the round-of-16 to Anastasia Potapova. Following the withdrawal of Bencic, a place in the Dubai main draw has opened for Veronika Kudermetova.

Bencic still feeling the effects of COVID-19

Bencic, who tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-December, has been diagnosed with "something in her luings."

"It was not easy," Bencic said this week in St. Petersburg. "I have been diagnosed with something in my lungs which is not normal. And still, I'm happy I can play but it's going to take me a while to recover—they said about two, three months.

"I think it happens with a lot of athletes that your fitness, it's not the same level. "So, it's very tough but I have to, you know, just work with what I have." It's not the first time that Bencic spoke about feeling the effects of COVID-19.

After beating Beatriz Haddad Maia in her season opener in Sydney, Bencic said: "I was struggling a little bit, getting to practice after Covid because the pulse was getting up and the fatigue was still there. I think I still have room to feel better and my fitness has to get better.

"I still feel a little bit wobbly and so I think there is still potential, but I'm happy that I can play this tournament." Bencic hasn't had it easy at the start of the season as she also suffered a second round defeat at the Australian Open.