22
Feb
12

Victoria Azarenka has been forced to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Championships.

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The Belarusian is still nursing an ankle injury sustained in last week’s semi-final victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in Doha. Azarenka recovered from that to win the title in Qatar and stretch her unbeaten start to the season to 17 matches, but with big tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami coming up, she has taken the decision to rest this week. Lucky loser Casey Dellacqua replaces the top seed in the draw. The Australian will play Julia Goerges in the second round on Wednesday.

With Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova having also withdrawn due to a virus, the event is now without its top two seeds. Third seed Caroline Wozniacki is now the highest-ranked player competing in Dubai.

Azarenka is due to return to action in Indian Wells. The Californian tournament starts on March 7.

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