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Injury forces Serena out of Madrid

WORLD No. 2 Serena Williams retired from her first-round match against Francesca Schiavone at the Madrid Open on Monday with a knee injury after losing the first set 6-4 to the Italian.

A downcast Williams, who had difficulty bending her right knee, said she had made too many commitments with her schedule this year and was paying the price.

"I was just really hindered. My movement was hindered as a result of an injury I've been struggling with for some time," the American said.

The former world No. 1 said she did not want to harm her chances at the French Open starting later this month and added the knee problem was linked to a thigh injury that has been bothering her in recent weeks.

In the men's draw, ninth seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled past his former idol Marat Safin 6-4, 7-5 to set up a second-round clash with Croatian wildcard Ivan Ljubicic.

Tsonga, 24, said he remembered watching the 29-year-old Safin, a former world No. 1, playing at the French Open and the Paris Masters, where the Russian won three times and finished runner-up once.

"For me he was like an idol before so it was really special to play against him and to win against him," Tsonga told a news conference.

"I liked his game but before everything his personality," he added. "Today I was happy with my game. I played great tennis, some good serves and volleys, and I was really aggressive so I'm happy today."

Twelfth seed David Ferrer of Spain beat Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-2, 6-2 and 11th seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland thrashed Italian qualifier Marco Crugnola 6-2, 6-0.

In the women's draw, Elena Dementieva's bid for a third title this season gathered pace when the Russian third seed defeated Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in a match that ended shortly before midnight local time.

Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia was taken to a tie-break in the first set by Gisela Dulko of Argentina before taking the second 6-1 while China's Peng Shuai outlasted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 6-1, 7-6 (2).


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