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Serena drops out; Wozniacki falls early

MASON, Ohio -- Serena Williams woke up with a sore and swollen right big toe Wednesday, prompting her to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open -- the latest in her long streak of foot problems and setbacks.

Williams had won two straight tournaments at Stanford and Toronto, and her win on Tuesday night at the Cincinnati-area tournament was her seventh match in eight days.

She decided to withdraw and rest the foot, which she cut on glass at a restaurant and needed two operations to repair last year. Williams was rounding back into form with the U.S. Open less than two weeks away.

"I don't think this is a good time for me to take a big chance," she said. "I just don't think that would be smart."

Williams is the third high-profile player to miss some or all of the tournament because of injury. Her sister Venus Williams withdrew before the start because of a virus that also forced her to sit out the tournament in Toronto. Defending champion Kim Clijsters couldn't play because of an injured abdomen.

The tournament also lost top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday. Wozniacki dropped her opening match for the second consecutive week, falling to American Christina McHale 6-4, 7-5 in the second round.

In the men's bracket, second-seeded Rafael Nadal beat qualifier Julien Benneteau 6-4, 7-5 despite burns on the index and middle finger of his right hand, which the left-hander uses to steady his backhand shot. Nadal said he touched a hot plate at a restaurant a few days ago. Both fingers were wrapped in gauze for protection.

"The plate was very hot and I got burned," he said.

Serena Williams was trying to win three in a row for the first time since the start of the 2008 season. She's won 12 straight matches, equaling the longest such streak on the WTA Tour this year.

And, she seemed to be beyond the foot and other problems that dropped her to No. 175 in the rankings. Her back-to-back tournament titles moved her all the way up to No. 31.

She beat Lucie Hradecka in two sets on Tuesday night. She said the toe was sore during the match.

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