CINCINNATI (AFP) - Venus Williams has pulled out of WTA Tour's Western and Southern Open tournament, complaining of a viral illness, organizers said on Friday. It is the second consecutive year the American has withdrawn from the event as she skipped the 2010 tournament with a sore knee. The world No. 34 was forced to withdraw from this week's Rogers Cup in Toronto with the same illness. "I regret not having the opportunity to compete in the Western and Southern Open this year," Williams said. "I am making progress towards recovering from a viral illness that began affecting me last week, and have plans to return to the practice court in the coming days. I am optimistic that I will be ready for the US Open at the end of this month." The American has been limited to three tournaments this year because of injuries.