Wozniacki, Serena Out, Djovkovic Advances

MASON, Ohio (AP) - Serena Williams dropped out of the Western &

Southern Open because of a sore toe Wednesday, her latest setback

after nearly a year away from the court.

Her decision to rest her troublesome right foot cost the women's

bracket yet another high-profile player and raised doubts about her

readiness for the U.S. Open.

"I don't think this is a good time for me to take a big

chance," she said, after the big toe on her right foot bothered

her during a morning workout. "I just don't think that would be


She was the latest high-profile woman to drop out of the

Cincinnati-area tournament, which combined a women's event and the

men's Masters for the first time this season.

Sister Venus Williams withdrew before the start because of a

virus that also forced her to sit out the tournament in Toronto.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters couldn't play because of an

injured abdomen.

The tournament also lost top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki on

Wednesday afternoon. Wozniacki dropped her opening match for the

second consecutive week, falling to American Christina McHale 6-4,

7-5 in the second round. Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka withdrew

before her evening match because of a strained right hand.

In the men's bracket, top-ranked Novak Djokovic beat American

Ryan Harrison 6-2, 6-3. No. 2 Rafael Nadal beat French qualifier

Julien Benneteau 6-4, 7-5 while playing with two fingers on his

right hand bandaged to protect burned fingertips. The left-handed

Nadal said he got the burns by touching a hot plate at a local


Serena Williams' withdrawal was unexpected. She had won two

straight tournaments at Stanford and Toronto, gaining some momentum

after missing nearly a year because of medical problems. Williams

arrived looking to win three tournaments in a row for the first

time since the start of the 2008 season.

She beat Lucie Hradecka in two sets on Tuesday night, when the

toe started bothering her. It was her seventh match in eight days

and her 12th straight win, equaling the longest such streak on the

WTA Tour this year.

The toe was worse when she woke up on Wednesday - sore and a

little swollen. She talked to her father and her sister before

deciding to withdraw from the tournament. It's the same foot she

cut on glass at a restaurant and had two operations.

"It's not as bad as it was before," she said. "It's just a

lot of match play. I've been playing a lot of the matches, more

than I have in a long time, and also training as well. It got a

little aggravated. Instead of making it worse, I've decided it will

be in my best health not to go on."

The time off also will give her the opportunity to attend the

wedding Kim Kardashian, who is marrying NBA player Kris Humphries

in California over the weekend. Williams is a friend of the reality

TV star.

"Now that I have time, I probably will," she said. "I hadn't

thought about it."

After a news conference to announce her decision, Williams

headed across Interstate 71 to enjoy a ride at Kings Island. The

amusement park released a photo of her in the front row of its

Diamondback roller coaster, holding back her hair at the start of a


While Williams was deciding to withdraw, Wozniacki was

struggling to keep the ball in play. She also lost her opening

match last week in Toronto.

The Dane had never faced the 76th-ranked McHale, who broke

Wozniacki in the 11th game of the second set with a delicate drop

shot. She clinched the match when Wozniacki sailed a forehand long.

"I can't remember the last time I had two first-round exits,"

she said. "It's a bit different. You know, I usually play better

as the week goes on, but what happens, happens."

Djokovic has been the world's most consistent player this

season, going 54-1. Last week in Montreal, he became the first to

win five ATP Masters series titles in one season. He improved to

30-0 on hard courts by taking advantage of Harrison, a 19-year-old

from Florida who broke his serve to open the match, then fell

apart. Harrison had 20 unforced errors in the first set alone.

Djokovic would like to keep his winning streak intact heading

into the U.S. Open, where he lost the title match to Nadal last


"Performing the best tennis is the priority in New York," he

said. "But I'm not playing the matches in this tournament just to

get some practice. I'm playing to win."

Nadal played with the index and middle fingers on his right hand

taped. It bothered him on his backhand shots.

"I got burned," he said. "I had a little bit of an accident

in a restaurant a few days ago."


Freelance writer Mark Schmetzer in Mason contributed to this


(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)