Osaka pulls out of Qatar Open with injury

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

Japanese tennis player and victor of two straight Grand Slams Naomi Osaka says she will not play in the Qatar Open, citing back pain.

The 21-year-old current world number one caused a major upset when she beat Serena Williams last year at Flushing Meadows to record her first ever Grand Slam win although in controversial circumstances.

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Osaka is committed to play the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship next. Osaka had played in Doha a year ago, when she went through the qualifying draw and lost to the Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Qatar Open organizers announced that Osaka's place as top seed will be taken by Halep. The world no.2 defeated Garbine Muguruza in the 2018 final.

There is plenty of star talent on display in Doha, with 2014 champion Simona Halep - who Osaka replaced atop the rankings - joined by 2017 victor Karolina Pliskova, as well as Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens.

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