Osaka to miss Qatar Open with back injury

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Naomi Osaka had planned to play her first tournament since winning the Australian Open in Qatar, but injury has ruled her out.

World number one Naomi Osaka will miss next week’s Qatar Open with a back injury.

The Japanese, who last month won a second successive grand slam by beating Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final, suffered a similar problem last year that saw her miss the Hong Kong Open.

It would have marked Osaka’s first tournament since her triumph in Melbourne, but the 21-year-old will instead take time to recover.

A statement from Osaka, reported on the WTA’s official website, read: “I am sorry to have withdraw from Doha this year as I was looking forward to playing and seeing my fans there.

“I wish everyone a great week and hope to see everyone next year.”

There is plenty of star talent on display in Doha, with 2014 champion Simona Halep – who Osaka replaced atop the rankings – joined by 2017 victor Karolina Pliskova, as well as Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens.