Naomi Osaka’s US Open start next week could be in doubt after the former No. 1 withdrew with a hamstring injury from Saturday’s final at the “Cincinnati” Masters.
The pullout by the double Grand Slam winner gives Victoria Azarenka her first WTA title since winning Miami in spring, 2016. The US-based Belarussian now owns 26 career trophies.
She also won the tournament in 2013 when it was played at its normal venue in the US midwest.
The event is being staged this year inside the New York no-fan bio-bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the US particularly hard.
“I’m sorry to have to withdraw today with an injury,” Osaka said. “I pulled my left hamstring yesterday in the second set tiebreak and it has not recovered overnight as I had hoped.
“This has been an emotional week and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support.”
The pullout came 48 hours after Osaka led a protest over American police brutality which led to play at the tournament being paused on Thursday and resumed on Friday.
The US Open begins onsite on Monday, with Osaka lined up to face Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi.
Main Photo:- Naomi Osaka “Cincinnati” Masters Photo Ben Solomon USTA