Naomi Osaka withdrew from the semifinals of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne on Saturday as a precaution with an unspecified injury ahead of the Australian Open next week.
“Sorry to Tennis Australia and the fans to have to withdraw today. I have a niggling injury and in light of the AO on the horizon, I need to be cautious,” Osaka said on the WTA Twitter account. “I look forward to competing next week.”
It didn’t seem like the No. 2 seed had sustained any injuries during her three matches at the warm-up event. No. 7 seed Elise Mertens, who was scheduled to face Osaka in the semifinals, moved into the final after the withdrawal.
Osaka began her 2021 season with a win over Alize Cornet in the second round on Tuesday, her first match since winning the U.S. Open in September. She also beat Katie Boulter and Irina-Camelia Begu to reach the last four.
Osaka, 23, will be looking to claim her second Australian Open title when the tournament begins Monday, following her win two years ago.
Australian Open organizers have delayed the start of the Grand Slam tournament by three weeks because of safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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