Naomi Osaka withdraws from tournament semifinal in Melbourne due to abdominal injury

MELBOURNE, Australia – Naomi Osaka, defending Australian Open champion, withdrew from her semi-final of the WTA tournament in Melbourne on Saturday with an abdominal injury. The decision allowed her rival, Veronika Kudermetova, to advance to the final of the competition.

“I had a lot of fun playing here in Melbourne. Unfortunately, I suffered an abdominal injury. I need to rest and prepare for the Australian Open,” Osaka said in a statement issued by Tennis Australia.

“Sad to retire due to injury from my match today, my body took a shock from playing intense matches in a row after the break I took,” Osaka added later on Twitter. “Thanks for all the love this past week. I’ll try to rest and see you soon!”

The Australian Open begins on January 17.

Kudermetova will face second-seeded Simona Halep on Sunday, who eliminated Zheng Qinwen 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal of the Summer Set 1 tournament.

In the Adelaide International tournament, the local Ash Barty, Wimbledon monarch and first in the world rankings, defeated the Polish Iga Swiatek, 2020 Roland Garros champion, 6-2, 6-4. In Sunday’s final, Barty will face Elena Rybakina, who got rid of Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-3.

American Amanda Anisimova advanced to her first final since 2019 by beating Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-0 on Saturday in the WTA Summer Set 2 tournament at Rod Laver Arena. Anisimova will face Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who won the match with Ann Li 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3.

Meanwhile, in the semifinals of an ATP tournament at Melbourne Park, Spain’s Rafael Nadal edged Finn Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-5. In Sunday’s final, the Spaniard will face American Maxime Cressy, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (9).

The Adelaide and Melbourne tournaments are among six preparation events taking place in Australia this week, ahead of the season’s first major at Melbourne Park.