Injured Naomi Osaka pulls out from warm-up event to prepare for Australian Open

The defending Australian Open champion has decided to withdraw from the Melbourne Summer Set.

The 24-year-old was scheduled to take on Veronika Kudermetova in the semi-final of the warm-up tournament. Instead, Osaka withdrew citing an abdominal injury.

In a statement issued by Tennis Australia, Osaka said: "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."

Later on social media, Osaka posted a message saying: "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. I'll try to rest up and I'll see you soon!"

The four-time grand slam winner took a break from tennis after being knocked out by Leylah Fernandez in the third round of September's US Open.

Following her winning return to action in Melbourne earlier in the week, Osaka said her main target for 2022 is to feel like she is "having fun" on the court.

Kudermetova, who had been due to face the Japanese world number 13, will now take on Simona Halep in the final after the Romanian progressed with a straight-sets win over Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.

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