Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka was dropped from her opener at the WTA 1000 in Toronto on Tuesday due to back pain, raising concerns as the US Open approaches.
Estonian Kaia Kanepi led 7-6 (7/4), 3-0 when the four-time Grand Slam winner was dropped. Kanepi, finalist of the last week of the Washington hard court tournament, broke the Japanese star three times in 71 minutes on the court.
“I had back pain from the start of the match and despite my efforts to overcome it, I couldn’t.said Osaka, in tears. “I would like to salute Kaia for her good game and save her the best for the rest of the tournament“.
Osaka has played just six games, going 2-4, since losing the WTA 1000 final in Miami in early April to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The US Open, which Osaka won in 2018 and 2020, is due to take place from August 29 to September 11.
Kanepi, 37, had won their only previous encounter in three sets, five years ago at the US Open.
1st round (single women):
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeats Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3)
Belinda Bencic (SUI/N.12) defeats Tereza Martincová (CZE) 6-4, 6-2
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeats Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-6 (7/4), 3-0 (retirement)
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeats Carol Zhao (CAN) 6-1, 6-3
Zheng Qinwen (CHN) defeats Rebecca Marino (CAN) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Elise Mertens (BEL) beats Anna Bondar (HUN) 7-6 (7/2), 6-1
Camila Giorgi (ITA) beats Emma Raducanu (GBR/N.9) 7-6 (7/0), 6-2
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeats Claire Liu (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Cori Gauff (USA/N.10) defeats Madison Brengle (USA) 6-1, 6-3
Zhang Shuai (CHN) beats Cristina Bucsa (ESP) 6-1, 6-3