Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semi-final at the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament with an abdominal injury, saying she needs to rest up ahead of the Australian Open.
The top-seeded Osaka was set to play Veronika Kudermetova but said her body needed to recover after an intense week.
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Osaka is the defending champion at the Australian Open, which begins January 17, but was playing her first tournament since the U.S. Open after taking a break for mental health reasons. She pulled out of the French Open last year after being fined by organisers for refusing to speak to media after matches.
She had been playing increasingly well on her return in Melbourne, beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets in the quarterfinals. She had needed three sets to beat Alize Cornet in the first round when she made 57 unforced errors, including eight double faults, in her first match in four months.
“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 released by Tennis Australia.
The third-seeded Kudermetova will face former world No. 1 Simona Halep in the final, after the Romanian beat Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen 6-3, 6-2.
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