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After winning this year’s Australian Open title, 21-year-old Japanese player Naomi Osaka leaped to the No.1 spot. However, she had to withdraw her name from next week’s Qatar Open due to a back injury, WTA Tennis reported. Naomi will not play the WTA event in Doha.

Naomi was to compete in what was scheduled to be the Japanese’s first tournament since triumphing in the Australian Open in January. She is also missing out on this week’s Fed Cup tie for Japan.

“I am sorry to have to withdraw from Doha this year as I was looking forward to playing and seeing my fans there,” the 21-year-old said in a statement. “I wish everyone a great week and hope to see everyone next year.”

Naomi became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion – man or woman – after thrashing her idol, Serena Williams, in last year’s US Open final. She went toe-to-toe with the 23-time Grand Slam champion and defeated her

Earlier too, Naomi had suffered from a back injury, missing last October’s Hong Kong Open due to the problem.

READ: How Naomi Osaka Rose To The Top From World No.72 In A Year’s Time

Her place as top seed in the Qatar Open will be taken by Simona Halep, the Romanian who Naomi replaced as world number one. She beat Czech star Petra Kvitova — last year’s Qatar Open winner — in three sets in Melbourne to claim her second Grand Slam after upsetting Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows for her first one.

Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber are the names to watch out for in Doha from Feb 11.

Naomi has been playing professional tennis since 2013. Her major breakthrough came when she became an international sensation after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round of the US Open in 2017. In addition to defeating Kerber, Naomi has won matches over other long-time tennis greats, including Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. She is eyeing gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Feature Image Credit: Cosmopolitan

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