Injury threatens Azarenka's French Open challenge
Victoria Azarenka's participation in the French Open has been thrown into doubt after she was forced to pull out of the Rome Masters.
The world number one suffered a shoulder injury during her straight sets victory over Shahar Peer at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Wednesday evening and she will now face a race against time to be fit for Roland Garros. Details of the problem are sketchy at present but the 22-year-old will undergo intense physiotherapy to try and ease the injury and ensure that she has a chance to add another Grand Slam to the one she picked up in Australia earlier this year when the players arrive in Paris in 10 days' time. The Belarusian was scheduled to play Dominika Cibulkova in round three on Thursday, but the Slovak will now advance to the quarter-finals without having to hit a ball in anger. Azarenka has enjoyed a phenomenal year to date with four titles under her belt already, the highlight of which was the hammering she dished out to Maria Sharapova in the final at Melbourne Park. She was a beaten finalist in last week's Madrid Masters, with Serena Williams proving that she still has a bit of petrol left in the tank with a comprehensive straight sets victory, and would have loved to have gone deep in this week's Eternal City event to try and fine-tune her preparations for the year's second 'Slam. But it is not to be and it remains to be seen whether or not she will be fit to go to France and try to beat her previous best performance of reaching the quarter-finals in 2009 and 2011.