By Issy Ronald, CNN
Four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from her second-round match against Beatriz Haddad Maia at the Pan Pacific Open on Thursday due to illness, ending her title defense at the tournament.
“I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today,” Osaka said in a statement to the WTA.
“It’s an honor to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan. This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won’t let me. Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year”
The former world No. 1 was suffering from abdominal pain, Reuters reported, after she advanced to the second round when her opponent Daria Saville suffered a knee injury.
Osaka has endured an injury-plagued season, failing to win more than one match at a single tournament since she reached the final of the Miami Open in April.
She withdrew from the semifinals of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament in January with an abdominal injury, missed the entire grass court season due to an Achilles injury and withdrew from her opening match of the Canadian Open with a back injury.
“This year has not been the best year for me, but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Osaka told reporters before the start of the Pan Pacific Open.
“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall, I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”
Due to her injury problems this year, Osaka has fallen from world No. 13 in January to world No. 48 and has not won a grand slam since the 2021 Australian Open.
“It was kind of hard at first, just because I feel like I should be somewhere where I’m obviously currently not,” she said.
“I think for me it’s more about being at peace with myself. I know that I’m here for a reason.”
Haddad Maia will now advance to the quarterfinals by walkover where she will face either Veronika Kudermetova or Fernanda Contreras Gómez.
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