29 October 2019

Injury shock forces Naomi Osaka to withdraw from WTA Finals, now Kiki Bertens steps in

Naomi Osaka has been forced to retire from the WTA Finals in Shenzhen due to a shoulder injury and will be replaced by Kiki Bertens as the first alternative.

The 22-year-old had got her campaign off to a winning start beating Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-1) 4-6 6-4, in a tough match lasting two hours 39 minutes but has now announced that she will take no further part in the event.

"For me it was very difficult and usually there's first-round first jitters and you can't really afford it as she came hard at me from the beginning," Osaka said after the game.

The Netherlands' Kiki Bertens has been called up as the first alternative for the injured Japanese star and will face French Open champion Ashleigh Barty tonight. 

Bertens, 27, will now take Osaka's place in the Red Group alongside French Open champion Barty, Petra Kvitova (CZE) and Belinda Bencic (SUI).

The other round robin group, the Purple Group, is comprised of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu (CAN), Wimbledon winner Simona Halep (ROM), Karolina Pliskova (CZE) and defending champion, Elina Svitolina (UKR).

The competition consists of a round robin tournament within the groups with the winner and runner-up advancing to the semi-finals. The final will take place on November 3

Kiki Bertens (NED) is the first alternative for the injured Osaka (PA Images)

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