Naomi Osaka pulls out of Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo due to illness on Thursday.
The U.S. women’s national team star, who was on track to earn the first career Grand Slam title in her 18th major singles tournament, withdrew from the tournament in Tokyo on Thursday with her second set of the match due to illness. Japan will now take on the winner of Thursday’s other match.
In Osaka’s first singles match at the tournament on Wednesday, she defeated world No. 12 Karolína Plíšková 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round to take a 2-0 lead over the 18th-ranked player. The 21-year-old Osaka is not at her peak right now, but she was on the brink of earning a coveted spot on the U.S. team at next year’s Olympics in Brazil.
The Tokyo final will feature a clash between No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka and world No. 72 Karolína Plíšková, who is ranked third. Osaka, who beat Plíšková for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday, had been a top-four seed at previous major tournaments in Beijing, Cincinnati and New York.
In Osaka’s first match against Plíšková, Osaka defeated Plíšková 6-3, 6-4. It was the second time in two weeks that the two players met on the courts in the opening round of a major tournament.
Japan women’s team will now face France on Thursday. France will then face No. 3 seed Simona Halep on Friday. Halep, who defeated Naomi Osaka for the second time this season in a rematch of last year’s French Open, will next play No. 4 seed Angelique Kerber on Sunday.
The Japan-France match will be a rematch of last year’s final. France won last year’s final in Tokyo, eliminating Japan 5-4 in the second set on a rain-shortened match.
This is not the first time that Osaka has withdrawn from a tournament due to illness. She withdrew from the U.S. Open in New York and Wimbledon in 2018, and withdrew from the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Charleston in 2017.
Wednesday’s first-round match between Plíšková and Osaka was the third straight time that the two players played in the opening round of a tournament, and the fifth time that they have met in