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Osaka withdrawal from Tokyo continues challenging year for former world No 1

Beatriz Haddad Maia benefited from the forfeit of Naomi Osaka on Thursday night. She’ll face Russian Veronika Kudermetova for a place in the Tokyo semis

Naomi Osaka at the WTA Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo Naomi Osaka at the WTA Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo Image Credit: Zuma/ Panoramic

Former world No 1 Naomi Osaka‘s challenging 2022 continued as the defending champion pulled out of her home tournament – the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

Osaka was due to play fifth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, of Brazil, on Thursday but pulled out due to abdominal pains to send Haddad Maia into the quarter-finals.

In a statement released, Osaka said she was sorry she could not take the court in front of her home fans. “I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today. It’s an honour to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan. This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me.”

Osaka got to play for only a few minutes in her home event with her first round opponent Daria Saville pulling out due to an ACL injury in only the second game of their opening round match.

Osaka has won back-to-back matches only three times in 2022

Thursday’s withdrawal continues what Osaka has described as a challenging year for her. While she reached the finals of the Miami Open, Osaka was forced to sit out the entire grass court season due to an Achilles’ injury and had to retire from her first-round match with a back problem in Toronto in the leadup to the US Open.

Speaking to the media prior to her first match, Osaka spoke about her challenging season. “I think of course the year has been not the best year for me but I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m happy to be healthy because in Europe I did injure myself and that was the first injury that took me that long to get healed. I think life is ups and downs and this one was more down than up but overall I’m happy with where I am right now.”

With this week, Osaka is now 14-9 for the season, winning back-to-back matches in only three out of 10 events on the tour.

Meanwhile, Haddad Maia, ranked No 16, will next go on to meet Russian Veronika Kudermetova, the No 4 seed, who defeated Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez 6-0, 6-1.

Tokyo WTA 500, other second-round matches

  • Veronika Kudermetova vs. Fernanda Contreras Gomez
  • Liudmila Samsonova vs. Xinyu Wang
  • Petra Martic beat Karolina Pliskova (6): 6-3, 6-4
  • Claire Liu beat Elise Mertens: 6-4, 6-1
  • Qinwen Zheng beat Paula Badosa (1): 6-3, 6-2
  • Shuai Zhang beat Caroline Garcia (2): 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5)
  • Garbine Muguruza (3) beat Despina Papamichail (Q): 6-4, 6-2
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