BREAKING NEWS: Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen because of a right shoulder injury and her place in the Red Group will be taken by alternate Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
The 22-year-old Osaka edged Petra Kvitova in her first round-robin match on Sunday, extending her winning streak to 11 matches after clinching two Asian Swing titles (the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the China Open), but the Japanese two-time Grand Slam champion has now pulled out of the lucrative tournament on the day she was scheduled to play world No.1 Ashleigh Barty:
I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the Finals. It has been a great event in Shenzhen, and it’s the biggest WTA event of the year. This is not how I wanted to end this tournament or my season. I look forward to getting healthy and hope to be back here in Shenzhen next year.
On her tournament debut last year, Osaka lost all three of her matches in the round-robin phase, so despite the withdrawal, this is her best appearance at the WTA Finals so far.
World No.10 Kiki Bertens, a semifinalist at the season-ending event last year, replaces Osaka in the Red Group and faces the top-seeded Barty on Tuesday night. Players who will progress out of the round-robin phase will be the ones who rack up the greatest number of match wins, followed by the greatest number of matches played. Hence, if Bertens and some other player win the equal number of matches, the player to advance to the semis will not be Bertens, because her match count will be lower. (source: WTA)