KYODO NEWS SERVICE

MELBOURNE — Japanese first seed Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Melbourne Sum­mer Set 1 ahead of her semifinal on Saturday, citing an abdominal injury.

The Australian Open warm-up event was the world No. 13’s first tournament since she took a break following her third-round exit at the U.S. Open in September.

Naomi Osaka (Getty/Kyodo)

The 24-year-old had beaten Germany’s Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals on Friday to set up a semifinal with 31st-ranked Russian Veronika Kudermetova.

“Sad to withdraw due to injury from my match today, my body got a shock from playing back to back intense matches after the break I took,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.

She also left a message on the Australian Open’s Twitter account, stating, “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 #AusOpen. Thank you to the tournament and the fans.”

The Australian Open will also be played at Melbourne Park on Jan. 17-30. Osaka won the tournament in 2019 and will go in as defending champion this year, having won it for the second time last year. In Sydney on Monday, Novak Djokovic won an expedited legal battle against the cancellation of his Australian visa, with an Australian court ordering the Serbian’s immediate release from immigration detention. But the government indicated after the court order that it retains the power to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time, leaving it unclear if the men’s world No. 1 can play in the upcoming Australian Open.

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