Victoria Azarenka withdraws from Qatar Open semi-final with a back injury

Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from her semi-final match against Garbine Muguruza in the Qatar Open, citing a back injury as the reason.

The former world number one was showing signs of a return to good form this week after her first round loss at the Australian Open.

However, in her quarter final match against Elina Svitolina she had to call the trainer onto court in the second game for treatment on her back.

Despite looking physically hindered in the second set, Azarenka closed out a straight set win over the top seed, extending her unbeaten record at the event to 13-0.

“Unfortunately, the pain in my back that I experienced during yesterday’s match has not gone away enough in order for me to be able to compete tonight,” Azarenka said.

“I have loved being back here in Doha this week, and want to thank the tournament and everyone involved with the organization of this great event for hosting us and making it possible to play during these challenging times.

“I am very appreciative of being awarded a wildcard to compete here this week, and I am looking forward to being back in Doha again next year.

“Lastly, wishing all the remaining players in the draw the best of luck for the remainder of the tournament.”

Azarenka’s withdrawal means that Garbine Muguruza gets a walkover into Saturday’s final. The Spaniard will play Czech lefty Petra Kvitova.

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