Naomi Osaka pulled out of her Gippsland Trophy semi-final -See Reason

Former Australian Open champions Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka withdrew from their warm-up tournaments for the year’s first Grand Slam on Saturday, citing injuries.

Osaka pulled out of her Gippsland Trophy semi-final with an unspecified “niggling injury” but said she looked forward to competing at the Australian Open which starts on Monday.

“I have a niggling injury and in light of the AO on the horizon, I need to be cautious. I look forward to competing next week.”

Belgian Elise Mertens has a walkover to the final of the Gippsland Trophy.

Azarenka, who won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2012-13, withdrew from her Grampians Trophy quarter-final against Annett Kontaveit, giving the Estonian a walkover to the semi-finals.

The WTA said the Belarusian had a lower back problem.

The injuries are a further blow for organisers, coming a day after Serena Williams withdrew from her semi-final against world number one Ash Barty.

Third-seeded Osaka faces former quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round of the Australian Open, while 12th seed Azarenka is scheduled to meet American Jessica Pegula.


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