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Hewitt, Roddick set to give Masters a miss
ANDY Roddick remains in doubt for the Masters Cup in Shanghai and might yet be joined on the sidelines by Lleyton Hewitt.
World No. 3 Roddick is nursing a sore back, while Hewitt is overcoming groin and toe problems.
Roddick and Hewitt will need to confirm their availability in the next 24 hours as Chinese officials prepare for tomorrow's draw and opening ceremony.
The tournament starts on Sunday.
Hewitt, twice a Masters champion and beaten in last season's final by Roger Federer, has not played since the Thailand Open in late September.
He retired from the tournament with a groin strain 45 minutes before he was due to face Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan in the quarter-finals.
The baseliner then had toe surgery. He has since resumed training in Sydney with coach Roger Rasheed.
Roddick is battling chronic back soreness. If he is unable to recover, he will join Australian Open champion Marat Safin (knee) as a Shanghai absentee.
"I'm not as optimistic as I was two days ago," Roddick said.
"I'll go back (to the US), we'll treat it and if I feel like I can go, I'll go. If not, then I won't."
Federer, Rafael Nadal, Roddick, Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Guillermo Coria and Nikolay Davydenko make up the Shanghai field.
Argentines Gaston Gaudio and David Nalbandian could slot into the field if any of the top eight players withdraw.
Meanwhile, Mark Philippoussis yesterday celebrated his 29th birthday with a career-low season-ending ranking.
With only the Masters Cup to be decided, Philippoussis can do little to improve his ranking of 171st in the world.
Having spent much of another horrid season outside the top 200, Philippoussis will end the year with his flickering career on a knife-edge.
The Wimbledon and US Open finalist last finished with a season-ending mark beyond 150th in 1994 when, at 18, he ranked 304th.