MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Serena Williams, who had her sights set on winning a record ninth Miami Open on what amounts to her home court, was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a left knee injury.
"It was an amazing experience to play at the Hard Rock Stadium this year," Williams said in a statement, referring to the new home of the event, which had been played for over 30 years on nearby Key Biscayne. "I hope to be back next year."
Williams provided no further information about the injury, nor is it one which has cropped up before in this late stage of the 37-year-old's career and return to tennis from childbirth. Williams has been plagued by numerous challenges during and since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian.
Williams, who lives just short drive up I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens, was seeded No. 10. She had a first-round bye and played her only match against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson. Williams won in three sets.
"I'm not really thinking about my match too much today," Williams said after the spotty performance. "I wasn't really happy with my performance."
"[I] had to take a lot of time off the last week, so I don't know. Just going," she added, without elaborating.
This is the second consecutive tournament from which Williams has had to withdraw. Just two week ago at Indian Wells, Williams retired midmatch with Garbine Muguruza with an unspecified viral illness. Williams also issued a walkover to Maria Sharapova (due to a pectoral injury) before their highly anticipated fourth-round clash at the French Open in 2018.
Williams has not completed an event since the Australian Open in late January, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Karolina Pliskova.
As a result of Williams' withdrawal, China's Qiang Wang advances to the fourth round.