Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Internazionali d'Italia due to an Achilles injury she suffered at the Madrid Open.

The four-time grand slam winner was beaten 6-3 6-1 in the second round in Madrid by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo last week, who she was due to face again in Rome.

Osaka looked uncomfortable throughout in the Spanish capital and appeared to struggle with the injury during a disappointing second-set display.

Her place in the first round will be taken by lucky loser Nuria Parrizas Diaz, who will now face Sorribes Tormo.

"Unfortunately I’m going to have to withdraw from Rome as the injury which I picked up last week in Madrid hasn't healed yet," Osaka said in a statement on the WTA's website. "It's an Achilles injury so I need to be careful especially in advance of Roland Garros.

"I love this city and always enjoy playing in front of the Italian fans so I will be sorry to miss them – but look forward to coming back next year."

The WTA confirmed on Monday that Clara Tauson of Denmark has also withdrawn from the tournament with a back injury, and will be replaced by Madison Brengle as a lucky loser.

Emma Raducanu says being a "loner" has helped her to discover a lot about herself after the US Open champion split with coach Torben Beltz last month.

The 19-year-old employed Beltz last November, but the German was only in her corner for five months.

Raducanu had turned to Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who helped her sensationally win a maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows last year, and was previously coached by Nigel Sears.

The teenager says she is happy to go it alone as she prepares to face Bianca Andreescu in the first round of the Internazionali d'Italia.

She told reporters in Rome: "I'd describe myself as a loner.

"For the past year... I've had a lot of people around me a lot and very often. To be on my own is interesting because I'm kind of finding out a lot about myself, understanding what I need and what I don't need."

Raducanu was beaten by Anhelina Kalinina in the third round of the Madrid Open last week after being knocked out by number one Iga Swiatek at the quarter-final stage in Stuttgart.

The world number 12 is pleased with the progress she is making on clay.

"Clay is very new to me," she added. "I definitely feel like I have been progressing with each week, improving, getting a better understanding of how to play points, when to stay in the point or when to stay aggressive.

"I don't think I'm like the finished product at all. But, yeah, I'm heading in a good direction."

Emma Raducanu is "managing" a back problem ahead of her first-round Internazionali d'Italia clash with Bianca Andreescu.

The reigning US Open champion exited the Madrid Open at the last-16 stage, going down in three sets to Anhelina Kalinina after struggling with an injury which she admitted had been "taking its toll".

Raducanu said in the aftermath of that 6-2 2-6 6-4 defeat that she would only have given herself a "five per cent chance" of advancing after suffering the injury, and expressed doubt over her ability to compete in Rome.

However, the 19-year-old now insists she will be able to cope on the clay in Italy, saying she needs to adapt to the intensity of top-level matches after suffering from several injury problems this year.

"I think it's just coming from a lot of intensity and overload" Raducanu said. "My back, I'm managing it.

"It's fine. But it's just trying to adapt again to the long matches, to the intensity. I think that all of the small sort of niggles I'm getting, they're all related and connected to each other, when something is overcompensating perhaps."

Raducanu's first assignment in Rome will see her face Canadian Andreescu, who also won the US Open as a teenager when she shocked Serena Williams with a straight-sets final victory in 2019.

That contest will mark the first head-to-head meeting between the two players, and Raducanu was looking forward to facing the former world number four as she highlighted the contrast between conditions in Rome and Madrid.

"Of course, we are both pretty good players," Raducanu said. "It's going to be a good match-up. She's a great athlete and obviously a champion. She's got a really good attitude. I think it's going to be interesting.

"I think here is completely opposite [to Madrid]. It's quite heavy and slow, so there's going to be a lot longer points. It will be interesting to see what the differences are. But I can already feel them on the court tennis-wise."

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African country to land a WTA 1000 title as she fended off Jessica Pegula in the Madrid Open final.

The Tunisian beat her American opponent 7-5 0-6 6-2, regrouping well after a major dip in the second set to scoop the biggest title of her career.

The history-making victory means Jabeur will jump from 10th to seventh in the WTA rankings on Monday, matching a career high, and she earns €1,041,570 in prize money.

After losing to Belinda Bencic in the Charleston Open final last month, Jabeur's run on the Spanish clay shows she is becoming increasingly resilient, and comes as a timely boost ahead of the French Open getting under way in two weeks' time.

"We've lost a lot of finals, but today I'm happy I pulled out the win," Jabeur said at the end of the match, addressing her support team.

"It was very tough, especially last time in Charleston, so thank you guys for always believing in me and pushing me forward."

Jabeur came from 4-1 behind to take the opener, and she now holds a 17-0 match record when winning first sets this year.

Pegula broke in the fourth game, having fended off three break points in the opening game of the contest. Jabeur hit back and soon had the match back on serve, before saving a set point with a thumping backhand.

The 28-year-old Pegula, daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, has carved out a successful career at the top level in tennis, reaching back-to-back Australian Open quarter-finals this season and last.

She was in trouble when she lost her serve in the 11th game though, and Jabeur capitalised to snatch the opener.

Pegula made a flying start to the second set, establishing a swift double break, and a flat Jabeur found no way back. A drop shot into the net on set point summed up her drastic drop in level.

Jabeur stopped the rot by breaking serve at the start of the decider. Pegula immediately got back on level terms, but another break for Jabeur saw her pull away, on her way to victory in an hour and 54 minutes, a tour-leading 12th win of the season on clay.

The impressive Jabeur is also the first Arab winner of a tournament at this lofty level.

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African nation to reach the final of a WTA 1000 tournament as she set up a clash with Jessica Pegula at the Madrid Open.

Tunisian Jabeur, who beat Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and two-time grand slam winner Simona Halep to reach the semi-finals, needed just an hour and one minute to secure a routine last-four win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The world number 10 dominated her Russian opponent in a 6-2 6-3 win, before setting her sights on victory in what will be her sixth career final on the WTA Tour but first at such a high tier.

"I'm going to put a positive here. I want to win this final," Jabeur said after her win. "I'm going to put my heart, my favourite drop shot, my forehand in.

"I'm just going to really give my best. I don't want to regret [anything]. The main important thing for me, I know it's winning the title, but [also] knowing that I gave it all during the match and not regretting that. I know if this one [title] is not coming, then there is another one.

"I keep pushing myself to do better. The proof is that from Charleston [where Jabeur lost the final to Bencic last month], I worked really hard to be in the finals here. Like I said, I'm going to leave my heart on the court on Saturday."

Jabeur will face American Pegula in Saturday's final after she registered a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Switzerland's Jil Teichmann.

The 12th seed was tested when Teichmann fought back from a break down to 4-4 in the second set, with 28-year-old Pegula managing to dig deep to break once more and reach what is also her first WTA 1000 final.

Saturday's contest will represent just the fourth final of Pegula's career, and the first since losing to compatriot Serena Williams in straight sets at the 2020 Auckland Open, but she will enter the top 10 of the WTA rankings with a win.

"I knew I was close to the top 10, but it's so hard, you have to step up and do really well to win a tournament," Pegula said on court.

"I'm just so happy to be in the final, it's my first final in a 1000. I've been knocking on the door in the last few tournaments, [but] I was able to take care of business today."

Jabeur and Pegula have met on four previous occasions with each player boasting two victories each, Jabeur winning their last meeting at the last-16 stage of this year's Dubai Tennis Championships.

Ons Jabeur produced a fine display as she made light work for Simona Halep to secure her place in the Madrid Open semi-finals.

Former world number one Halep was the only player to have won the competition to have reached the last eight, but she was no match for the Tunisian, who won 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour.

After a difficult start to the year, Jabeur has hit her stride in recent times and will be contesting a second semi-final in three tournaments.

While Jabeur caught the eye, particularly with her penchant for a dropshot, Halep proved to be her own worst enemy, recording 12 more unforced errors (20) than winners (eight).

Up next for Jabeur is qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat 2019 French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 to reach her first WTA 1000 last-four clash.

Alexandrova has won six of her previous seven meetings with Jabeur.

Meanwhile, Anhelina Kalinina saw her impressive run ended by Jil Teichmann. The Ukrainian had seen off three major winners on the bounce in Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu, but she was beaten in straight sets this time.

Teichmann – who won 6-3 6-4 – will face Jessica Pegula for a place in the final, with the American eliminating Spain's final hope of a home winner in Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-4 6-2.

Emma Raducanu became the third successive major winner to lose to Anhelina Kalinina as the Ukrainian reached her maiden WTA 1000 quarter-final at the Madrid Open.

Ninth-seed Raducanu was the biggest name in action on Tuesday and had been hoping to rack up three successive WTA Tour victories for the first time since her incredible US Open success in September last year.

But Kalinina, who saw off Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza in her two previous matches, got the better of the Brit in an entertaining 6-2 2-6 6-4 win.

Raducanu had not dropped a set in either of her first two outings in Madrid but Kalinina quickly put an end to that.

While the teenager responded well in the second, getting an important break to make it 3-1, Kalinina rallied again in what was a closer deciding set.

The pair traded breaks and then Kalinina got another to set her en route to victory at 5-4 – she had to save one more break point but did ultimately see off Raducanu to book a clash with Jil Teichmann in the last eight.

Teichmann beat Elena Rybakina earlier in the day, dispatching the 16th seed in impressively comfortable fashion as she won 6-3 6-1.

Progression from the last eight for Teichmann will see her reach the semi-final of a WTA 1000 event for the first time.

Sara Sorribes Tormo, the last Spaniard left in the draw, defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 6-3 in something of a rollercoaster ride to line up a quarter-final contest with 12th seed Jessica Pegula.

The American kept her focus despite opponent Bianca Andreescu needing a medical timeout and rain causing a 30-minute halt, eventually winning 7-5 6-1.

Ons Jabuer avenged her recent loss to Belinda Bencic with a win at the Madrid Open, while Coco Gauff is out after being beaten in straight sets in the round of 16 by Simona Halep on Monday.

Gauff joins other big names in exiting the WTA 1000 event, with Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza, Danielle Collins, Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari among those crashing out in the second round.

The number 14 seed did not put up much resistance against her Romanian opponent, with Halep winning 6-4 6-4 in just 77 minutes.

Gauff struggled on her own serve in particular, making six double faults and only winning 61.5 per cent of her first-serve points, compared to 83.8 from Halep on hers.

The former world number one and two-time Madrid champion will now face the only remaining top-eight seed in the tournament in the quarter-final, Jabeur, who defeated Bencic 6-2 3-6 6-2.

The Tunisian was out for revenge after losing to Bencic at the same stage last year, as well as in the Charleston Open final last month, and took it well as she sealed victory in just over two hours.

"I came here to take my revenge," Jabeur said after the win. "I wish I played like that in the final in Charleston, to be honest.

"Part of me is very proud of myself for coming today and getting the win. Belinda is such an amazing player and it's very tough to play against her. I'm very happy with the level I showed today, and hopefully this level will continue for the rest of the tournament."

Elsewhere, Victoria Azarenka is out after the number 15 seed was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Amanda Anisimova, who will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the last eight after she overcame Marie Bouzkova 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 7-5.

Ukrainian former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky has questioned Rafael Nadal after the world number four said Russian and Belarusian players should not be banned from playing at Wimbledon.

The All England Club, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, confirmed last month that Russian and Belarusian players would not be able to feature in their tournaments this year, including Wimbledon.

That decision came in the wake of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which was backed by Belarus.

It means that men's world number two and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, as it stands, will not be competing at the season's third grand slam.

The ATP and WTA both want a rethink of the decision, while Nadal – along with Novak Djokovic – spoke out against the ban. Andy Murray, meanwhile, said he does not support the move, though understands the major's organisers are in a difficult position. 

 

"I think it's very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal told reporters.

"It's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war. I'm sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision. The government didn't force them to do it.

"Let's see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard."

However, former world number 31 Stakhovsky, who returned to his homeland to aid the resistance to Russia's attack, vehemently disagrees.

On his official Twitter account, Stakhovsy wrote: "@RafaelNadal we competed together... we've played each other on tour.

"Please tell me how it is fair that Ukrainian players cannot return home?

"How it is fair that Ukrainian kids cannot play tennis? How is it fair that Ukrainians are dying?"

Stakohvsky told Stats Perform in March that he was driven to fight the Russian forces despite having no formal military training, and left his family to do so.

Andy Murray does not support the ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing at this year's Wimbledon or other Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) tournaments, while Novak Djokovic reiterated his stance.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club recently announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the British grand slam following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It means the likes of men's world number two Daniil Medvedev and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka would miss out on the British swing.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have both spoken out against the ban, while the ATP and WTA have also pressed for reconsideration.

Now Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion who also won Olympic gold at SW19 in 2012, has refused to give the ban his backing.

"I'm not supportive of players getting banned," Murray said in a news conference ahead of the Madrid Open, with the former world number one in action against Dominic Thiem on Monday.

"My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they're against the war and against the Russian regime.

"I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players or their families."

 

Murray understands it is a delicate situation, however. 

"I don't think there's a right answer. I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I've spoken to some of the Ukrainian players," he continued.

"I feel really bad for the players who aren't allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them. But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in.

"I feel for everyone, feel for the players that can't play, and I don't support one side or the other."

There has been speculation that the ATP and WTA may sanction Wimbledon, with one possibility being reducing the amount of tour points on offer from the grand slam.

World number one Djokovic, who will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon, where no requirement for a COVID-19 vaccination will be in place for players, is unsure what the next step will be.

He told reporters: "I've spoken to some of the Russian players in Belgrade [at the Serbia Open].

"Obviously, it's not an easy situation to be in. Being stripped of the right to participate in one of the biggest tournaments, if not the biggest tournament in the world, it's hard, I understand that. There is frustration.

"[The] ATP is going to analyse the whole situation and understand what can be done. I have not spoken to people from ATP so I'm not sure about it. I've gone through something similar, it's not the same thing, but something similar earlier this year for myself [when he was denied entry to Australia due to his COVID-19 vaccination status].

"It's frustrating knowing that you're not able to play. I still stand by my position that I don't support the decision. I think it's just not fair. It's not right. But it is what it is, they are entitled to make the decision.

"I guess it's on Player Council, the tour management, to really decide, along with the players, what is the best solution in this situation whether they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50 per cent of the points.

"So I heard that some of those models are still considered to be used in this kind of instance, but I'm not sure what is right, what is wrong, to be honest. I guess we'll have to wait and see the outcome."

Rafael Nadal has described Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's tournament as "very unfair".

The All England Lawn Tennis Club recently announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the event following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

World number one Novak Djokovic labelled the decision "crazy", while Billie Jean King and governing bodies the ATP and WTA have also called for a rethink.

Nadal has now joined the ranks of those people questioning the decision, with the 35-year-old saying it is not fair on the players from those countries. 

"I think it's very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal told reporters.

"It's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war. I'm sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision. The government didn't force them to do it.

"Let's see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard."

Nadal will return to action following a rib injury at the Madrid Open in his homeland and the 21-time grand slam winner accepted that it might not be without difficulties. 

"Talking about the injury, I'm recovered, I feel good," Nadal added.

"Talking about my tennis game and preparations, well, it's a completely different story.

"Anyone who has broken a rib knows how limiting it is, very painful, especially the first weeks. I wasn't able to do anything without a lot of difficulties, even to fall asleep because of the pain.

"I have improved compared to when I came here but I still have ups and downs because it's been a long time without being in these kind of situations and it's going to be a difficult week, for sure."

Naomi Osaka joined several other big names in falling to a second-round exit at the Madrid Open, although Emma Raducanu cruised to a routine straight-sets win over Marta Kostyuk.

Four-time grand slam winner Osaka crashed to a resounding 6-3 6-1 loss to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, exiting her first tournament on clay since the 2021 French Open, where she withdrew citing mental health issues.

Osaka, who had posted an underwhelming 20-15 record on the surface prior to this week, looked uncomfortable throughout and appeared to struggle with a leg injury during a disappointing second set display.

The 24-year-old was not the only high profile player to be on the receiving end of a shock during a day of drama in the Spanish capital, as several of the competition's seeds failed to secure places in the last 16.

Another home favourite, Garbine Muguruza, fell to a resounding loss of her own as Anhelina Kalinina raced to a 6-3 6-0 victory over the seventh seed, while sixth seed Danielle Collins was thrashed 6-1 6-1 by Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was the highest-ranked player in action, and although the world number five won the first set of her clash with Daria Kasatkina, the Greek eventually fell to a 3-6 6-3 6-1 loss, while 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez went down 6-4 6-4 to Jil Teichmann.

One big name who did make comfortable progress, however, was Fernandez's US Open conqueror Raducanu, who eased to a 6-2 6-1 win over Kostyuk to set up a last-16 encounter with another Ukrainian in Kalinina. 

The 19-year-old, who has been quoted as saying she believes clay could prove to be her best surface in the future, was delighted with her victory and enjoying the tournament after dropping just one game in the second set.

"I'm definitely happy with my performance," Raducanu said on court. "Marta's a great opponent - I knew it was going to be a really tough battle. I went out there trying to be really aggressive and it paid off.

"It's my first clay court season and I'm really enjoying it. Madrid is such a cool city and it's got such a great vibe about it. I definitely want to try and stay here for as long as possible."

Naomi Osaka was encouraged by her 2022 clay-court debut, winning her opening match at the Madrid Open against Anastasia Potapova.

The former world number one has not played on the red dirt since the 2021 French Open, where she withdrew citing mental health issues.

Heading into this week in Madrid, Osaka had an underwhelming 20-15 record on clay, with each of her grand slam successes coming on hard courts.

But the 24-year-old has spoken of adjusting her approach and learning from clay king Rafael Nadal – and the early signs were positive.

She needed just over an hour to defeat Potapova 6-3 6-1 on Friday and said: "I'm honestly trying to be more positive with myself.

"This year I came a week early to train on red clay, so I'm just trying to give myself more chances to do better.

Osaka added: "To be able to do it in two sets, for me, it's a really good starting block. 

"I think today for me it was really fun, just being able to be back on the clay and not taking those moments for granted."

Fellow hard-court major champions Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu also won their openers, although the latter required three sets to eventually coast past Alison Riske 6-4 3-6 6-0.

Raducanu will play another 19-year-old in the second round, with the US Open champion paired with Marta Kostyuk after getting over a slightly slow start to thrash Tereza Martincova 7-6 (7-3) 6-0.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari overcame a scare, meanwhile, ending her losing run at three matches by coming from behind to defeat Madison Keys in three sets.

"Overall, it was a very positive match to get myself back in the winning feeling," the Greek said.

Amanda Anisimova celebrated her fifth career top-10 win by beating Aryna Sabalenka again at the Madrid Open.

The 20-year-old American would have headed into Thursday's match-up full of confidence having also defeated the world number four in Charleston earlier this month.

And again Anisimova came out on top, this time at a tournament where Sabalenka was the defending champion.

Sabalenka is now 0-4 against Anisimova, losing three times on clay, with this the underdog's first ever victory in Madrid.

A 6-2 3-6 6-4 triumph was sealed in an hour and 55 minutes, with Anisimova relishing the opportunity to take on one of the sport's foremost stars once more.

"It's always enjoyable to accept the challenge, even when it's a tough match, and push yourself and see how far you can go," Anisimova said.

"I enjoy these matches, even though they're very tough – especially when you get to win them."

While Anisimova can look forward to facing Petra Martic in round two, hers was not the only upset win, with Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko also ousted.

Pliskova lost in straight sets to fellow Czech Marie Bouzkova, as Ostapenko went down in three to Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Simona Halep and next opponent Paula Badosa both came through unscathed, though, as did Belinda Bencic, Coco Gauff and Ons Jabeur.

Jabeur's 11-9 first-set tie-break success against Jasmine Paolini was the closest any of that quintet came to dropping a set on day one.

Emma Raducanu hailed Torben Beltz as "one of the nicest people I've met", despite deciding to split from the German coach.

The US Open champion parted company with Beltz on Tuesday after just five months together.

The duo began working together in November but have now split as the world number 11 plots the way forward ahead of the French Open and Wimbledon.

"Torben is a great guy. I really enjoyed my time with him on and off the court," Raducanu said while preparing for the Madrid Open on Wednesday. 

"He is one of the nicest people I've met, so obviously it was a tough one to split with someone like that.

"But I feel like right now I'm very comfortable with my current training. I'm feeling very confident in what I'm doing and how I'm working.

"I feel like over the last few weeks it's definitely become more apparent and especially as I've spent more time on the tour playing more matches against these top opponents, that I kind of understand what I feel like I need more of.

"I think Torben has been great for me because when I wanted someone with tour experience, I think for my first six months on the tour, it was very valuable."

The 19-year-old has recently enjoyed her best week of the season, winning back-to-back matches at the Stuttgart Open, before putting in a respectable performance in defeat to world number one Iga Swiatek.

Beltz is the third coach to move on from working with Raducanu in the last 12 months. She swapped Nigel Sears for Andrew Richardson, who worked with her at the US Open, before deciding to bring in Beltz, who previously worked with Angelique Kerber and Donna Vekic.

Raducanu is scheduled to face Czech player Tereza Martincova on Friday in Madrid and will be assisted by Iain Bates at the tournament, the long-serving head of women's tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association.

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