MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her semifinal match at a WTA tournament in Melbourne with an abdominal injury, allowing her opponent Veronika Kudermetova to advance to the final on a walkover.
“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 issued by Tennis Australia. The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17.
In other semifinal play at the Summer Set 1 event, also in Melbourne, Simona Halep took on Zheng Qinwen, with the winner to face Kudermetova on Sunday.
At the Adelaide International, top-ranked and Wimbledon champion Ash Barty was scheduled to play her night semifinal against former French Open winner Iga Swiatek.
The Adelaide and Melbourne tournaments are among six tune-up events being staged in Australia this week ahead of the season-opening major at Melbourne Park.