Azarenka pulls out in Dubai

All four seeds in action safely progressed through to the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships but Victoria Azarenka pulled out.

Top seed Azarenka took her tally of career titles to 16 at the weekend with victory over Serena Williams in the Qatar Open final but she will not be able to add to that in Dubai after today withdrawing with a foot problem.

The recently-deposed world number one, who is unbeaten in 2013, said: "It happened last week. I have been obviously playing on it a lot, so going to a new tournament is too much to handle right now.

"It keeps getting worse. It was an unfortunate decision that I had to make, and obviously I'm very disappointed with that."

Despite her Qatar Open victory, Azarenka lost her world number one ranking to Williams yesterday and by withdrawing from Dubai she is likely to drop further adrift of the American.

Williams plays her second-round match here against Marion Bartoli tomorrow having received a first-round bye.

The event may have lost its top seed but four other leading players negotiated their first round matches today.

Fifth seed Sara Errani was made to battle before seeing off Julia Goerges 6-3 4-6 6-4 but Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki, seeded sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, all claimed comfortable straight-sets wins.

Kvitova beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-1, Stosur downed Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-1 and Wozniacki knocked out Lucie Safarova 6-2 6-2.

Also progressing through to the second round on Tuesday were Nadia Petrova, Roberta Vinci and Jie Zheng.