Victoria Azarenka has pulled out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship after suffering and injury to her right foot.
The world number two, who snapped a nine game losing streak to Serena Williams on Sunday at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, is reported to have a bruised bone that will prevent her from defending her 14-0 season record. It is the second consecutive year in which the Australian Open champion has taken an early from the Dubai tournament and her third withdraw in the last year.
"I'm very disappointed, but I have to listen to my body," said Azarenka, who could have regained the number one spot she lost on Monday to Williams, despite beating the American in a three-set thriller Sunday night at the Khalifa Tennis Centre. "I have been playing on it a lot over the last five days so going to a new tournament is too much to handle right now. (The injury) keeps getting worse. It was an unfortunate decision that I had to make."
The move comes ahead of two key hard court tournaments on the WTA tour: the $5.1m BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California and the $5.1m Sony Open Tennis event in Miami, Florida,
The Belarusian, who was due to play Russia's Nadia Petrova, will be replaced in the draw by "lucky loser" Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.