DUBAI – Top seed Victoria Azarenka pulled out of the Dubai Open for the second straight year on Tuesday, with the recently displaced number one citing a foot injury.

Azarenka had won the Doha title at the weekend after losing the top spot to Serena Williams, who now becomes the hot favourite to take the title for the first time.

The Belarus player had also suffered a foot injury that forced her to quit before a semi-final in the first week of January against Williams in Brisbane prior to winning a second straight Australian Open.

The cause of that problem was listed as a dodgy pedicure.

The latest withdrawal is the fifth for Azarenka in the past nine months. Her place in the draw will be taken by a lucky loser from qualifying. – Sapa-dpa