MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a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.
Osaka further explained her withdrawal in a tweet, citing the “intense” matches she played in Melbourne.
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. Thank you for all the love this past week ❤️ I’ll try to rest up and I’ll see you soon!
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 8, 2022
In other semifinal play at the Summer Set 1 event, also in Melbourne, Simona Halep took on Zheng Qinwen, with the winner to face Kudermetova on Sunday.
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 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.