ROME, May 14 (Reuters) - Serena Williams pulled out of the Italian Open on Tuesday due to a persistent knee injury which casts doubt on her participation in the French Open which begins this month.
The 37-year-old American world number 11 had been due to face sister Venus in an eagerly-awaited second-round clash in Rome. Venus received a walkover into the third round.
Serena, a 23-times Grand Slam singles champion, has struggled throughout the year and completed only two matches since the Australian Open where she reached the quarter-finals. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)