Part of complete coverage on
Serena Williams forced to withdraw from Madrid Open with thigh injury
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
Serena Williams in action during the Mutua Madrid Open.
- A thigh injury has forced Serena Williams to withdraw from the Madrid Open
- The world No.1 hopes to be fit for Rome Italian Open next weekend
- Rafael Nadal cruises into men's semifinal in Madrid
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- Serena Williams was forced to pull out of the Madrid Open with a thigh injury ahead of her quarter final tie with Petra Kvitova Friday.
The withdrawal will come as a blow to the world No. 1's preparations for the French Open with the year's second major beginning in two weeks' time.
Williams had been playing with heavy strapping all week, although confirmed she hopes to be able to take part in the Italian Open in Rome next week.
What happened inside James Blake's mansion?
"I have a left thigh injury and, unfortunately, have to withdraw from this year's Madrid Open," Williams told the WTA website.
Davis Cup showdown
"It happened during my first round match. It started to get better, but most importantly right now, I just need some time to rest and recover.
"I am planning to play in Rome. Fortunately, I have a bye next week so will have an extra day of rest."
Williams has won the title in Madrid for the last two years and used the event as a springboard to take the French Open crown at Roland Garros last May.
She added: "It's beyond words. It's so frustrating. We couldn't ask for a better tournament and I love it here in Madrid. I love being a champion here."
Elsewhere in the women's draw, Maria Sharapova overcame world No. 2 Li Na 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 to reach the semifinals where she will face Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated surprise package Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Williams' withdrawal means the second semifinal will pit Kvitova against No.4 seed Simona Halep who trumped the in-form Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-2.
Rafa Marches on
In the men's quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal defeated Thomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.
A tense opening set saw Nadal take the first break in the seventh game with the scores tied at 3-3. From there the Spaniard never looked back.
Nadal broke Berdych again early in the second set and once more with the scores at 4-2 before serving the match out.
The home favorite and three-time time Madrid Open champion will now face fellow countryman Roberto Bautista on Saturday after the the world No. 45 beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
The remaining men's semifinal will see another Spaniard, David Ferrer, take on Japan's Kei Nishikori after Ferrer defeated Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 and Nishikori eased past Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4.
Read: Novak Djokovic pulls out of Madrid Masters
Read: "Swiss Miss" finds that mom knows best
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.