2012 finalist and 12th seed Victoria Azarenka, who skipped last week’s Stuttgart tournament to get a COVID jab at home in the US, was forced to withdraw injured on Sunday at the Madrid Masters.

The Miami-based Belarus player cited lower back pain as she withdrew prior to a second-round match Jessica Pegula.

After losing to Serena Williams in the title match nine years ago, Azarenka has never been past the Madrid third round.

“I’m very disappointed to withdraw from the tournament. It’s been a really disappointing season for me physically,” she said in a statement.

“At times I’ve felt like I’m playing really well but I’m not able to sustain my level.

“I’m really looking forward to finding the solution and I hope I’ll do that soon and be back playing as soon as possible.”

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