Tennis star Naomi Osaka is looking ahead to defend her Australian Open title after withdrawing from the Melbourne Summer Set Tournament, Insider reported.
According to the WTA, the top-seeded Osaka was scheduled to play third seed Veronika Kudermetova in the semifinals. She had won against Anna Petkovic and Maryna Zanevska in straight sets in the quarterfinals and round of 16, respectively, after a closer three-set victory over Alize Cornet in the opening round.
The tournament serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament beginning on January 17th, where Osaka is the defending champion.
The former World #1, 24-year-old Osaka is now ranked #14 after taking a break following the U.S. Open this year. AsAmNews reported that Osaka’s emotional third round loss to eventual tournament runner-up Leylah Fernandez prompted her to question her future in tennis and take a break from the sport “for a while.”
On Twitter, Osaka explained her withdrawal from the Melbourne Summer Set, writing “my body got a shock from playing back to back intense matches after the break I took.” She also thanked her fans for “all the love this past week,” promising them she would “try to rest up.”
In an official statement, Osaka clarified that she had withdrawn due to an “abdominal injury.” She also expressed her determination to defend her title at the Australian Open, which begins in around a week.
“I had a lot of fun playing here in Melbourne,” she stated. “Unfortunately I have an abdominal injury which I need to rest and prepare for the #AusOpen. Thank you to the tournament and the fans.”
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