A day after Victoria Azarenka announced her withdrawal, new No. 1 Serena Williams did the same this morning pulling out of the Dubai tournament due to a back injury just before her scheduled match against Marion Bartoli.
“I’ve just had some back problems the past couple weeks,” Williams told Reuters. “I thought it would get better as the week went on but it didn’t. I don’t want to keep pushing it and make it worse.”
Serena was hampered by a lower back issue in her shock quarterfinal loss to fellow American Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Both she and Azarenka, though, appeared to be in good health during their Doha final on Sunday.
The loss of Serena and Azarenka and the non-entry of Maria Sharapova leaves the lucrative event with defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska as its top seed.
Serena is set to play the Madison Square Garden exo against Azarenka in two weeks, then return to action in Miami.
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