Naomi Osaka retires from Pan Pacific Open with stomach ache

Naomi Osaka‘s title defense at her home Pan Pacific Open game ended on Thursday when the former world No. 1 withdrew ahead of her second-round match Beatrice Haddad Maia because of stomach pain.

“I’m really sorry that I can’t compete today,” Osaka said in a statement. “It’s an honor to play the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan. This was and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped onto the court but my body won’t let me. See you next year.”

It’s the latest setback for the 24-year-old, who sat out the entire grass season with an Achilles tendon injury and withdrew from her first-round match in Toronto ahead of the US Open with back problems. The four-time Grand Slam winner had won the Pan Pacific Open when it was last held in her hometown of Osaka in 2019.

In the quarterfinals, Brazilian Haddad Maia meets No. 4 seed Veronica Kudermetovawho dominated the Mexican qualification Fernanda Contreras Gomez 6-0, 6-1.

In other second round games Peter Martin disgruntled sixth place finisher Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-4 and in a game with unseeded players Lyudmila Samsonova squeezed past China Xin Yu Wang 7-6(5), 6-3.

In the quarterfinals on Friday, Martic will play against China Zhang ShuaiSamsonova faces the third seed Garbin Muguruzaand Americas Claire Liu meets China Qinwen Zheng.

Martic kept his nerve as 2018 champion Pliskova lost hers. The former world No. 1 has not been at his best while Martic has been consistent throughout, breaking twice in every set, including the final games of each set. Pliskova handed the win to her tall baseliner colleague with her fifth double fault.

“Karolina is a great player and she has beaten me many times in the past so I expected a tough game,” said Martic. “So I was just happy to win it.”

Martic won just in time when it started raining right at the end of the second set. A third set would have been under the Ariake Coliseum roof.

“I was hoping that we would play outdoors because it’s an outdoor tournament, but it started raining very heavily at the match point, so I was really happy to win that point,” said Martic.

Samsonova beat Wang as both players remained aggressive throughout. Samsonova hit three aces to end the first set tie break. In the second set, her high pressure play broke Wang in game eight and she rounded out the game with a 13th ace.

“She played fantastically,” said Samsonova. “She’s already a great player but my serves were enough to keep my game going.”

Contreras Gomez had no answer to Kudermetova’s clinical efficiency other than the good bits of her game in which she beat the 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin she left in the first round. Kudermetova didn’t do anything wrong but was expected to face much tougher opponents from Haddad Maia in the quarterfinals.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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