Serena pulls out of Charleston with leg injury

CHARLESTON: Defending champion Serena Williams, nursing a left leg injury suffered at Miami this month, will skip the WTA tournament that starts Monday in Charleston, organizers said.

Williams, the reigning US and Australian Open champion hurt her leg during the prestigious hardcourt tournament in Miami, where she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the championship match on April 4. On Wednesday, still playing with her leg bandaged, she crashed out of the first round of the claycourt tournament in Marbella.

Shortly after that defeat, the WTA announced that Williams is sure to surrender her world number one ranking to Russian Dinara Safina on April 20. Safina had been threatening to topple Williams for weeks.

"I am unable to compete this year at the Family Circle Cup as I need to give my leg injury time to heal," said Williams, who beat Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final here last year.