Naomi Osaka withdraws from Melbourne tournament semifinal

Osaka withdrew due to an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a walkover.

Naomi Osaka

FILE PHOTO: Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury.   -  AP

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a walkover.

“I had a lot of fun playing here in Melbourne. Unfortunately I have an abdominal injury which I need to rest and prepare for the Australian Open," Osaka said in a statement issued by Tennis Australia. The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17.

“Sad to withdraw due to injury from my match today, my body got a shock from playing back to back intense matches after the break I took," Osaka added later on Twitter. “I’ll try to rest up and I’ll see you soon!"

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

Earlier, American Amanda Anisimova advanced to her first final since 2019 with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Daria Kasatkina in the WTA's Summer Set 2 event on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

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Anisimova will play either fellow American Ann Li or Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. They play their semifinal later Saturday.

In the semifinals of an ATP tournament at Melbourne Park, Rafael Nadal faced Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori and Maxime Cressy played Grigor Dimitrov.  The winner will play American Maxime Cressy, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (9).

At the Adelaide International, top-ranked and Wimbledon champion Ash Barty was scheduled to play her night semifinal against former French Open winner Iga Swiatek.

The winner will play Elena Rybakina, who beat Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-3 in the other Adelaide semifinal.

The Adelaide and Melbourne tournaments are among six tune-up events being staged in Australia this week ahead of the season-opening major at Melbourne Park.

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