Fourth seed Naomi Osaka of Japan has withdrawn from the final of Western & Southern Open on Saturday citing a left hamstring injury, leading to Victoria Azarenka becoming the champions by walkover. The men’s final will be played between world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Canadian Milos Raonic, where the Serb is the favourite to take the title.
“I’m sorry to have to withdraw today with an injury," Osaka said. “I pulled my left hamstring yesterday in the second set tiebreak and it has not recovered overnight as I had hoped. This has been an emotional week and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support."
Earlier, Osaka has pulled out of the tournament following her quarter-final victory over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in protest against police atrocities towards black people in the United States. The move came in the wake of African-American Jacob Blake being shot in the back on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
However, less than 24 hours later, she decided to re-enter the tournament on the request WTA and the United States Tennis Association (USTA). She made her decision to compete in the tournament stating that the USTA and WTA decided to postpone the tournament by a day as a strong message, which she felt brought more attention to the movement.
Osaka had defeated Elise Mertens 6-2, 7-5 (5) in the semi-finals and was a favourite in the final. Osaka is one of the major contenders in the US Open as well.
“This has been an emotional week and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support," Osaka said.