The announcement comes weeks after the world number five also withdrew from the $2.3 million Qatar Open.

The 31-year-old twisted her ankle twice during her three-set loss to Victoria Azarenka in Melbourne just over one month ago and "has not responded enough to intense treatment", said a spokesman for the exhibition match.

Li was scheduled to face Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki at the BNP Paribas Showdown in Hong Kong on March 4.

She said: "Unfortunately, the ankle injury I had in the Australian Open final is still not ready for me to compete.

"I know I have some of the best fans who live in Hong Kong and I was looking forward to playing for them. I promise I will be back next year."

Fans will be anxious for Li to recover in time for the French Open in May, a tournament she won in 2011 to make her the first player from Asia to achieve a Grand Slam singles title.

World number four Agnieszka Radwanska, meanwhile, will take Li's place in Hong Kong.