MIAMI, FL, USA - Eight-time Miami Open champion Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a left knee injury, the tournament announced today.

“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” Serena said in a statement. “It was an amazing experience to play at the Hard Rock Stadium this year and would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event.

“I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”

Read more: 'I could not lose this match': Serena survives Peterson scare in Miami

The former World No.1 started the Miami Open with a tough three-set victory over Rebecca Peterson, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 to reach the third round. The win was Serena’s 76th in Miami, a tournament leading number.

It was a strong showing to back up her Indian Wells run, which saw her claim a 7-5, 6-3 victory over two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka before being forced to retire from her third-round match against Garbine Muguruza due to a viral illness, trailing 6-3, 1-0.