Serena Williams out of Dubai Championships

An injured Serena Williams receives treatment during her match with Sloane Stephens on January 23, 2013
© AP Photos
World number one Serena Williams pulls out of the Dubai Championships with a lower back injury.

World number one Serena Williams has been forced to pull out of the Dubai Championships due to a lower back injury.

The American, who secured the top ranking last week in Qatar, was due to face Marion Bartoli on Wednesday, but the issue has forced her to retire from the competition.

Williams, who lost in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last month, has suffered from the persistent injury in recent months, but it is not yet clear how long she will spend on the sidelines.

Second-ranked Victoria Azarenka was also forced to withdraw from the competition on Monday, citing a foot injury as the cause.

Victoria Azarenka, after her second round victory at the Australian Open on January 17, 2013
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