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Serena Williams withdraws in Rome but says she will be fit for French Open

The Guardian logo The Guardian 5 days ago Guardian sport
Serena Williams holding a racket: Serena Williams has won the Italian Open four times. © Getty Images Serena Williams has won the Italian Open four times.

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Premier 5 tournament in Rome, the last big event before this month’s French Open.

Williams said she has been dealing with a knee injury. “I must withdraw from the Italian Open due to pain in my left knee,” the 37-year-old said. “I will miss the fans and competition at one of my favorite tournaments. I’ll be concentrating on rehab and look forward to seeing you all at the French Open and next year in Rome.”

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Williams had won her opening match in straight sets, and was due to face her sister, Venus, in the second round. Venus will now play fellow American Sloane Stephens in the third round.

This is not the first time this year that Williams has withdrawn from a tournament. She has done so in her last three tournaments. The only time she has been beaten on court by an opponent this year was in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open by Karolina Pliskova.

The Italian Open has been a happy hunting ground for Williams: she last won the tournament in 2016, the fourth time she has claimed the title in Rome.

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