Serena Williams withdrew before the start of her quarterfinal match at the Italian Open on Friday due to a back problem. Serena's back froze suddenly while she was warming up on a practice court for her match with French qualifier Alize Cornet. "It just happened all of a sudden in practice," Williams said before heading to a hospital for tests. "I just went for a shot and then my back got a little stuck."
Williams did not appear in much pain, carrying a large pocketbook over her left shoulder as she entered a news conference immediately after her withdrawal. "I didn't feel anything the last match, and I don't expect this to cause any problems with my preparation for the French," she said. "It just happened all of a sudden. I feel like I'm going to be good going into Roland Garros."
Serena Williams has had a splendid start to the year, compiling a 23-2 record and winning three titles. Her withdrawal deprived the tournament of a chance at the first all-Williams final since Serena beat Venus for the 2003 Wimbledon title.