Injured Osaka retires from Canadian Open, Kanepi through; Williams ‘evolving away from tennis’

Injured Osaka retires from Canadian Open, Kanepi through; Williams ‘evolving away from tennis’

Former world number one Naomi Osaka retired from her opening match at the Canadian Open in Toronto on Tuesday due to injury, sending veteran Kaia Kanepi through to the second round.

Osaka pulled out of the match trailing 7-6 (7-4), 3-0 due to a back injury.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying my best to push through it I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka said afterwards. “I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Estonian Kanepi, who continued a good run after reaching the final of the Citi Open in Washington last week, will next face eighth seed Garbiñe Muguruza.

In the last match of the day, third seed Maria Sakkari came out of a two-hour battle with Sloane Stephens on top as she defeated the American 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, finishing just after midnight (0400 GMT).

In other action, 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu knocked out in-form Daria Kasatkina, who last week won the Silicon Valley Classic, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, to reach the second round.

Earlier, defending champion Camila Giorgi defeated 2021 US champion Emma Raducanu 7-6 (7-0), 6-2.

Olympic champion Belinda Bencic defeated Czech Tereza Martincova 6-5, 6-1 and on Wednesday will face Serena Williams in the second round, who is likely playing her last Canadian Open as she announced she will retire from tennis after the US Open.

The 23-time grand-slam champion won her first singles match for more than a year at the National Bank Open in Toronto late Monday but has revealed in a first-person piece for Vogue that she has decided to end her career.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she wrote.

Williams has committed to playing at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week as well as the US Open later this month, and it appears that will be her final tournament.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year,” said the 40-year-old.

“And I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun.

“I know there’s a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret (Court on 24 slam singles titles) that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, ‘See ya!’

“I get that. It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”