MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a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
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.
Anisimova will play either fellow American Ann Li or Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. They play their semifinal later Saturday.
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.
In the semifinals of an ATP tournament at Melbourne Park, Rafael Nadal faced Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori and Maxime Cressy played Grigor Dimitrov.
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.