• KYODO, AFP-JIJI, REUTERS

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Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka has fallen outside the top 10 in the WTA women's singles rankings for the first time in three years.

In the latest rankings released Monday, Osaka dropped from seventh to 12th, while the top three — Ash Barty, Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova — remained unchanged.

The last time Osaka was ranked outside the top 10 was in August 2018, when she was 19th.

The 23-year-old, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, said she wanted to take a break from competitive tennis "for a while" following her third-round loss at the U.S. Open last month against unseeded Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez, the tournament's eventual runner-up.

The four-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the French Open in May ahead of her second-round match to take a mental health break. She also sat out Wimbledon, but participated in the Tokyo Olympics in late July, where she lost in a stunning third-round upset.

The favorite to win gold on home soil, Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron at the Tokyo Games opening ceremony in July.

Last week, the 23-year-old hinted that her return could come soon, saying she "kind of" has "that itch again."

Elsewhere in the rankings, two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza jumped to sixth after winning the title in Chicago last week. Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who lost to Muguruza in the final, climbed to a career-high ranking of 14th.

In addition to gaining three spots in the women's rankings, Muguruza climbed two spots to No. 6 on the Race to the WTA Finals leaderboard to bolster her chances of qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals next month.

Muguruza is aiming to qualify for her first WTA Finals since 2017, having played in the event three times from 2015, when it was held in Singapore.

Barty, Sabalenka and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova have all qualified for next month's tournament.

The WTA Finals, contested by the world's top eight singles players and eight doubles teams, was moved out of China's Shenzhen after last year's event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"I know it's going to be very nice over there because Latin people are fire," the Venezuelan-born said. "I think the girls are going to enjoy it."

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