TOKYO: The defending champion Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from the ongoing Pan Pacific Open due to illness.
Her withdrawal comes ahead of her second-round match against Number 16 Beatriz Haddad Maia.
"I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today. It is an honour to be able to play at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan.
This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on the court today, but my body would not let me.
Thank you for all your support this week and I will see you next year," Osaka was quoted as saying by WTA in a statement on Thursday.
Following this announcement, Haddad Maia has advanced to the quarterfinals via walkover.
She will face either No.4 seed Veronika Kudermetova or Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez in the QFs.
Osaka is the defending champion, clinching the title in 2019. No competition could happen in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the ongoing edition of the tournament, Osaka advanced to the second round after Daria Saville of Australia was forced to retire owing to a knee injury during the first round.
Prior to the event, she had told media that she was fit and healthy again to contest after a season spent battling injuries.
"I think of course the year has been not the best year for me but I think overall I have learned a lot about myself. I am happy to be healthy because in Europe I did injure myself and that was the first injury that took me that long to get healed," Osaka had said.
"I think life is ups and downs and this one was more down than up but overall I am happy with where I am right now," she had added.
The ongoing edition of the Pan Pacific Open will be going on from September 19 to September 25 this year.