(REUTERS, AFP) - Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the WTA Finals in Shenzhen owing to an injury to her right shoulder, the lucrative women's tennis tournament's organisers said on Tuesday (Oct 29).
This is the second straight year that the 22-year-old has been forced out through injury.
The Japanese world No. 3 was due to face Australia's Ashleigh Barty later in the day and her place will now be taken by alternate Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, who had also beaten her last year to enter the semi-finals of the WTA Finals Singapore event.
"I'm disappointed to have to withdraw from the Finals," Osaka said. "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."
Osaka had started the US$14 million (S$19.1 million) round-robin tournament in China with a tough three-set victory over Petra Kvitova on Sunday, to extend her winning streak to 11 matches after titles in Beijing and Osaka.
She had been determined to make amends for a disappointing WTA Finals debut last year, when her winless campaign ended with her retiring in tears with a hamstring injury against Bertens in their final group match.