Naomi Osaka withdraws from Western & Southern Open final as Victoria Azarenka claims title

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open final due to a left hamstring injury, leaving Victoria Azarenka the tournament winner by walkover.

The two-time Grand Slam champion was due to face the Belarusian former world No 1 in Saturday’s showpiece of the pre-US Open tournament, which is being held at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Japan’s Osaka sustained the injury during the second-set tiebreak of her 6-2 7-6 (7-5) semi-final victory against Belgium’s 14th-seed Elise Mertens on Friday.

“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.”

The 22-year-old had initially pulled out of her semi-final because “as a black woman I feel there are much more important matters at hand”, before tournament organisers then suspended play on Thursday and Osaka’s subsequent decision to opt to play.

A number of sporting events in the US have been postponed due to protests at the shooting of Jacob Blake – a black man who was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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