Achilles injury forces Naomi Osaka to withdraw from Italian Open

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Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from this week’s Italian Open due to an Achilles tendon injury.

The four-time Grand Slam champion suffered the problem at the Madrid Open last week and struggled in a second-round loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Osaka said in a statement: “Unfortunately I will have to withdraw from Roma because the injury I suffered last week in Madrid has not healed yet. It’s an Achilles tendon injury so I have to be careful, especially before Roland Garros.

Meanwhile, veteran Stan Wawrinka picked up his first win since last year’s Australian Open against 14th seed Reilly Opelka.

Wawrinka, 37, was out of action for just over a year after foot surgery, making his return at the end of March.

Opelka, a semi-finalist in Rome last year, looked to be in control through a set and a breakup, but Wawrinka fought his way back into the game and turned the tide in impressive fashion against the American giants to win 3-6 7-5 6 -2.

Wawrinka said: “In general, I felt good on the pitch. Physically, I felt good. Of course, when you haven’t won a match for over a year, you always start thinking about it more than you should and not focusing on the good stuff.

“In general, I think it was a great game, a great battle. I stayed positive. I started to feel a lot better with my tennis at the end of the second set and the third set. I’m really happy of this victory.

Dan Evans, who found his form on clay in Madrid, was unable to earn a maiden victory in Rome, blowing a first-set lead and losing 7-6(2) 6-2 to Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Dominic Thiem is still looking for his first victory since returning from a long wrist injury.

The Austrian, a former world number three, slipped to a fourth straight loss since returning to action, losing 6-4 7-6(5) to Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov insulted the crowd as he rode to a moody 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 win over home favorite Lorenzo Sonego.

The Canadian 13th seed cracked in the second set after being hit with a penalty point for crossing the net, and shouted “shut up!” as the crowd cheered.

Meanwhile, there was a first victory for Diego Schwartzman’s 5-foot-7 and John Isner’s 6-foot-10 new “small and big” doubles team.

The unlikely pair won a decisive match to beat Andres Molteni and Santiago Gonzalez 5-7 6-3 10-1.

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