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Venus Williams withdraws from ASB Classic with arm injury

  • United States' Venus Williams, center, is escorted to a car on her arrival at Auckland Airport in New Zealand, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Williams is in New Zealand for the ASB Classic tennis tournament which starts on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Michael Craig/New Zealand Herald via AP)

    United States' Venus Williams, center, is escorted to a car on her arrival at Auckland Airport in New Zealand, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Williams is in New Zealand for the ASB Classic tennis tournament which starts on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. (Michael Craig/New Zealand Herald via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States' Serena Williams, left, waves to the crowd as she walks onto the court with her sister Venus during an exhibition event ahead of the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP)

    United States' Serena Williams, left, waves to the crowd as she walks onto the court with her sister Venus during an exhibition event ahead of the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Venus Williams has withdrawn from the ASB Tennis Classic, her first tournament of 2017, due to an arm injury.

Williams beat New Zealand wildcard Jade Lewis in a first-round match and was due to play Japan's Naomi Osaka in the second round later Wednesday but withdrew before the match.

The former No.1 and seven-time grand slam winner struggled early against Lewis and had to save a set point in the first set.

Tournament director Karl Budge told reporters Williams "wasn't able to serve as she would like to and at the level that we have come to expect from Venus and unfortunately that has taken her away from the tournament this year."

The Australian Open, the year's first grand slam tournament, begins on Jan. 16.