Osaka withdraws, Bertens advances to semis

Naomi Osaka has given a walkover ahead of her quarter-final match against Kiki Bertens at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The world No. 1 was scheduled to play Bertens, who lifted the trophy at Madrid last week, in the opening match on Court Centrale but was forced to withdraw due to a right hand injury.

“I kind of woke up this morning and I couldn’t really move my thumb. Like, I tried to practise and, like, grip my racquet, but I couldn’t. Then I just kept feeling this pain every time I tried to move my hand in different directions,” said Osaka.

“I never had this problem before, so it’s brand-new. For me, I’m a bit sad because, I don’t know, like I’ve never really gotten this far here. Yesterday the crowd was super nice to me, so I wanted to get on center court and sort of kind of pay them back in a way by doing my best.”

Osaka advanced to the last eight after defeating both Dominika Cibulkova and Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets on Thursday. The Japanese player will remain at No. 1 in the rankings next week thanks to her quarter-final result at the Foro Italico and because her nearest challenger for the top spot, Simona Halep, lost in the second round.