Naomi Osaka, right, of Japan sits beside Daria Saville of Australia after Saville got injured on her left knee during a singles match in the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on Sept. 20. (Kyodo News via AP)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

TOKYO — Naomi Osaka, playing her first match since the U.S. Open, advanced to the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open when Australia’s Daria Saville retired with a knee injury in the second game of their evening encounter on Tuesday.

The unseeded Osaka is the defending champion, having won in her birthplace Osaka in 2019 before COVID-19 shut down the tournament for two years.

“I feel really bad right now because of how it ended,” the Japanese player told the fans at Ariake Coliseum. “I’ve been injured for most of the year so I just want people to clap for her because she’s a really amazing player.”

Osaka, who was 1-0 up when Saville withdrew, had lost the first match in her previous three tournaments, including the U.S. Open last month, although she reached the final of the Miami Open in April.

In other games, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova cruised past hard-hitting Bulgarian Isabella Shinikova 6-2, 6-1, Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez overcame 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, fifth-seeded Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated Japan’s Yuki Naito 6-4, 6-2, and China’s Zhang Shuai beat Japanese wild card Mai Hontama 6-0, 6-3.

All matches were played under a closed roof as the tail end of Typhoon Nanmadol passed through Tokyo.

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