World number one Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the WTA Italian Open 2019 because of a hand injury.
Scheduled to play the fourth seeded Kiki Bertens in their last-eight encounter on Friday, Osaka decided to give the match a skip in a bid to get fully fit in time for the 2019 French Open, the year’s second Grand Slam that starts from May 26.
Speaking to the media, Osaka said she felt a sudden pain on her right thumb after waking up on Friday after having been injury-free throughout the week. The pain was enough for her to be unable to hold her racquet and that caused the withdrawal.
Osaka also admitted she felt disappointed at having missed out on an opportunity to play Bertens who has been in the form of her life.
“For me, it was sort of a test to play against Kiki because she’s playing really well and I wanted to see how well I could do today. So right now, I’m feeling kind of sad.”
“I didn’t feel anything yesterday. That’s why I’m kind of confused right now because I literally woke up in the morning and couldn’t move my thumb. So I was like, maybe I slept on it and maybe it will go away, but it didn’t.”
Incidentally, Osaka had earlier retired from her Stuttgart Open semi-final before she came back to feature in the Madrid Open. She reached the quarter-finals there as well before losing to Belinda Bencic in that match.
Osaka had made it this far by winning back to back matches on Thursday after rain had caused the entire previous day to be washed out. As a result she needed to overcome Dominika Cibulkova and Mihaela Buzarnescu yesterday, winning both matches in straight sets.
And as a result of making it to the last-eight stage of the tournament she will also go into the French Open as the top-ranked and top-seeded player.