Serena withdraws from Rome

Four-time Italian Open champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Internazionali BNL d’Italia due to a left knee injury.

Williams defeated Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson 6-4 6-2 in her first match at the Foro Italico since 2016 in the first round on Monday and was scheduled to play her sister Venus, who now receives a walkover, in the second round.

“I must withdraw from the Italian Open due to pain in my left knee,” Williams announced. “I will miss the fans and competition at one of my favourite tournaments. I’ll be concentrating on rehab and look forward to seeing you all at the French Open and next year in Rome.”

Until this week Williams had not played a competitive match since withdrawing from the Miami Open in March due to a knee injury.