Tennis

Naomi Osaka Pulls Out of First-Round Match in Toronto with a Back Injury

The timing of the injury sparks speculation that the two-time US Open champion will skip this year’s final Grand Slam event.

Naomi Osaka receives treatment for a back injury before withdrawing from her match against Kaia Kanepi in the Northern Bank Open in Toronto on August 9. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Naomi Osaka withdrew from her opening-round match at the Northern Bank Open in Toronto due to a back injury on Tuesday, August 9.

Osaka was trailing 7-6 (7-4), 3-0 to world No. 31 Kaia Kanepi of Estania when the match was declared an injury walkover.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Osaka is a two-time US Open singles champion. The year’s final Grand Slam tournament begins on August 29 in New York.

The timing of the 39th-ranked Osaka’s back injury fuels speculation that she’ll skip the US Open.

Before competing in Canada, the 24-year-old former world No. 1 appeared in the Silicon Valley Classic, her first tournament since the French Open in late May. Osaka was eliminated 6-4, 6-4 by Coco Gauff in the second round in San Jose, California, on August 4.

Limited Competition for Osaka

Since a third-round exit at the Australian Open in January, Osaka has advanced past the third round just once this year. She was the runner-up in the Miami Open final in early April, dropping a 6-4, 6-0 decision to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the final.

At the French Open, Osaka lost 7-5, 6-4 to Amanda Anisimova in the first round.

Citing a left Achilles tendon injury, she skipped the Italian Open in May and didn’t compete at Wimbledon, which began the final week of June.

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Osaka’s overall record since the Miami Open final is 2-4.

She parted ways with coach Wim Fessette in July.


Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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