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Osaka withdraws from Qatar Open with back injury

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 7 Feb 2019
  • Osaka out of Doha with back injury
  • World No. 1 still scheduled for Dubai the following week
Naomi Osaka (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Australian Open champion and World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has pulled out of next week’s Qatar Open with a back injury.

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Osaka was set to play her first tournament since winning her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month, but has announced her withdrawal due to a back problem.

"I am sorry to have withdraw from Doha this year as I was looking forward to playing and seeing my fans there," the 21-year-old said in a statement.
"I wish everyone a great week and hope to see everyone next year."

Osaka has suffered from back issues over the last 12 months, most recently at last year’s Hong Kong Open in October when she also was forced to withdraw.

Naomi Osaka (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP/Getty Images)
It’s not yet clear whether Osaka will be able to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begins on February 18 and a week after Doha.

If Osaka also misses Dubai, it would likely mean she will enter her BNP Paribas Open title defence in Indian Wells on March 3 without playing a competitive match since her Australian Open final victory over Petra Kvitova on January 26.

Osaka captured her first WTA title at Indian Wells last year with victories over the likes of Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina.

The 21-year-old would go on to secure her maiden major title at the U.S. Open later in 2018 with a win over Serena Williams in the final before becoming the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to back up her first Grand Slam title by winning a second in her next tournament at the Australian Open.

Osaka lost in the second round of Doha last year after qualifying for the main draw as the World No. 51.

Halep, Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens are set to lead the 2019 Qatar Open field in Doha, while American CoCo Vandeweghe has also withdrawn due to an ongoing ankle injury.

The 2019 Qatar Open is live from Doha between February 11-16.


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Osaka withdraws from Qatar Open with back injury

Australian Open champion and World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has pulled out of next week’s Qatar Open with a back injury.

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