WTA Finals 2019: Naomi Osaka withdraws with shoulder injury; replaced with Kiki Bertens
Naomi Osaka ends her season with an unbeaten run of 11 matches with titles in Tokyo and Beijing.
Osaka has withdrawn from the ongoing WTA Finals with a shoulder injury.
Osaka had started her campaign with a win over Petra Kvitova on Sunday.
Osaka ends her season with an 11-match winning run since the US Open.
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the WTA Finals, which are currently underway in Shenzhen, due to a right shoulder injury. The World No 3 had begun her campaign in the Red Group with a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 win over Petra Kvitova on Sunday. She was due to face World No 1 Ashleigh Barty on Tuesday but will be replaced by Kiki Bertens in the draw.
“I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the Finals,” Osaka said in a statement. “It has been a great event in Shenzhen, and it’s the biggest WTA event of the year. This is not how I wanted to end this tournament or my season. I look forward to getting healthy and hope to be back here in Shenzhen next year.”
The 23-year-old said she was unsure of the severity of the injury to her right shoulder, which she initially hurt in Beijing.
"I felt it immediately (in her first match on Sunday)," she told reporters. "When I woke up the day after it was throbbing.
"It's just a little bit painful. I don't think it's something that I would immediately need surgery for," she added.
Osaka thus concludes her season on an 11-match winning streak since the US Open. She won titles in Tokyo and Beijing since her fourth round exit in New York at the hands of Belinda Bencic.
Once she recovers, Osaka's attention will turn towards the Australian Open in January, where she will defend a Grand Slam title for only the second occasion.
"I just want to train really hard," Osaka said. "Last year during the off-season, I trained really hard for Australia. I felt like going into the Slam I was really fit. I just want to try to duplicate that."
Bertens comes into the Red Group with a stiff task of qualifying for the semi-finals — a feat she had achieved last year. Playing in a round-robin format, final standings are determined by the number of match wins followed by the greatest number of matches played. Therefore, if Bertens were to finish with an equal number of match wins but fewer matches played, the other player would advance.
(With AFP inputs)
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