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Tennis: Naomi Osaka withdraws from Australian Open

Jan. 8 (UPI) — Two-time Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Grand Slam tennis tournament following a injury-plagued 2022 campaign, WTA officials announced.

Tennis officials announced Osaka’s withdrawal Saturday night. Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska will replace Osaka in the main draw. The Australian Open will run from Jan. 11-30 in Melbourne.

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The WTA did not provide a specific reason for Osaka exit from the Grand Slam field.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams also withdrew from the Australian Open. She sustained an injury at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. The 42-year-old lost to Zhu Lin in three sets in her second match of the Australian Open warmup tournament.

Osaka, the No. 42 player in the WTA rankings, hasn’t played since Sept. 19. She followed that victory by withdrawing from her next match days later at the Toray Pan Pacific Open due to abdominal pain.

Osaka lost to American Amanda Anisimova in the third round of the 2022 Australian Open. She went on to reach the Miami Open final in April, where she lost to Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

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She withdrew from Wimbledon in June due to an Achilles tendon issue. She also retired from an August match against Kaia Kanepi due to a back injury. Later that month, Osaka lost to American Danielle Collins in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Australian Open qualifiers started Sunday in Melbourne.

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