Australia Open 2021: Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka latest stars to withdraw from warm-up events

Serena Williams also pulled out on Friday citing a shoulder injury

Eleanor Crooks
Saturday 06 February 2021 10:19
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Naomi Osaka 
Naomi Osaka 

Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka joined Serena Williams as high-profile withdrawals from the Australian Open warm-up events.

Williams pulled out on Friday citing a shoulder injury, handing Ashleigh Barty a free passage through to the final of the Yarra Valley Classic.

Osaka withdrew from the Gippsland Trophy with a similar issue, sending Elise Mertens through to the final, while Azarenka pulled out of the Grampians Trophy ahead of her quarter-final against Anett Kontaveit.

The delay caused by Thursday's stoppage following a positive coronavirus test for one of the employees at a quarantine hotel means the final of the Grampians Trophy will not be played.

The event, which was hastily arranged for players who experienced a hard quarantine, started two days later than the other tournaments and the finalists would have had to play two matches on Sunday to see it to a conclusion.

Instead, only the semi-finals will be played. Kontaveit will take on the in-form Maria Sakkari, who defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-2, while seventh seed Jennifer Brady faces American Ann Li.

In the Yarra Valley Classic, Barty will face last year's Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza, who has been in scintillating form this week and raced past Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-0 in just 53 minutes.

Mertens' opponent in the Gippsland Trophy final will be Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, who saw off Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 7-6 (6).

PA

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