Injured Serena Williams withdraws from Dubai Championships

Last Updated: 20/02/13 4:04pm

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Serena Williams: New world number one

Serena Williams: New world number one

Sky Bet

World number one Serena Williams has been forced to withdraw from this week's Dubai Championships because of a back injury.

The 31-year-old American, who replaced Belarusian Victoria Azarenka at the top of the world rankings on Monday, was one of the favourites to win in Dubai.

"We were looking forward to seeing Serena play, and are disappointed that this

injury has ruled her out," said tournament director Salah Tahlak. "We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to hopefully seeing her back in Dubai next year."

The withdrawal of Williams, who had been due to play France's Marion Bartoli in round two, is another blow for the tournament after top seed Azarenka pulled out on Tuesday with a foot problem.

Azarenka, who has yet to lose in 2013, beat Williams in the final of the Qatar Open at the weekend, but it was not enough to prevent the two changing places at the top of the world rankings.

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