MOSCOW, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Belarussian tennis player Victoria Azarenka withdrew Friday from the Brisbane International tennis tournament, in a bid to recover from a toe injury to defend her Australian Open title when the year's first Grand Slam starts in 10 days.
"I have to make sure I will be fully recovered and ready for the Australian Open. It's a compromise I have to make," Azarenka told a press conference in Brisbane.
"It's a right toe infection. It's been there for about 10 days and getting worse a little bit ... I have to take something out of my toe," the RIA Novosti quoted she as reporting.
Azarenka's withdrawal sent her semifinal opponent Serena Williams of the United States right into the final, where the latter would face off with Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday.
Williams expressed sympathy for Azarenka and was sorry for missing the chance to play with each other.
"I had that toe problem just a couple of weeks ago and it's painful ... I hope she gets better fast," the world No. 3 said on the WTA website.
Depending on results in Brisbane and at the Australian Open, Williams can become the oldest-ever world No. 1 if she overtakes Azarenka in the rankings.