Serena withdraws from Qatar Open with flu

Serena Williams will miss next week's Qatar Open because of the flu, she said on Tuesday, marking the second consecutive tournament the world number one misses due to illness.

Williams, a finalist at the 2013 tournament where she lost in three sets to Victoria Azarenka, was the top seed at the Feb. 21-27 tournament in Doha.

"I unfortunately have to withdraw from the Qatar Total Open as I have come down with the flu and do not feel 100 percent," Williams said in a statement released by tournament organisers.

"I need to take this time to recover but I do look forward to returning to Doha and seeing my fans soon."

The 34-year-old American announced last week that she would miss the ongoing Dubai Championships with the flu.

Williams has not played a competitive match since she was stunned in the Australian Open final by German Angelique Kerber.

The world number one's withdrawal comes as another blow to tournament organisers after Maria Sharapova pulled out with an arm injury.