Azarenka suffers setback ahead of Open defense

Fri Jan 4, 2013 4:48am EST
 
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By Will Swanton

BRISBANE (Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka's Australian Open preparations were complicated on Friday when "a bad pedicure experience" forced the world number one to withdraw from her Brisbane International semi-final against Serena Williams.

Thirty minutes before the match against her American opponent, the defending Australian Open champion announced she would be unable to compete after undergoing a minor procedure to fix an ingrown nail that infected her right big toe.

"It's been there for about 10 days," the 23-year-old Belarussian told reporters.

"It's just been getting worse a little bit," she added.

"I don't know in medical terms, but I had to get a piece (of nail) out of my toe because it was jamming into me and got infected.

"It's something that's very just really unfortunate, but I had to do that. It was just jamming underneath into the skin. I was trying to minimize the pain with taping and everything.

"Yesterday it got worse. It got really infected and got really red, so we had to go and see the doctor. He had to open it. That's what I had to do."

Azarenka had won her first two matches at Brisbane without any signs of discomfort but the eagerly-anticipated showdown against the third-ranked Williams failed to materialize.   Continued...

 
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus talks during a news conference in Brisbane January 4, 2013. Azarenka withdrew from the Brisbane International tennis tournament due to an injury in her right big toe. The world number one was supposed to play against third-ranked Serena Williams in a semi-final match of the tournament. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz