TOKYO: Naomi Osaka said she was “really scared” after watching her opponent Daria Saville collapsing with a knee injury just seven minutes into their Pan Pacific Open match in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Australia’s Saville withdrew from her first round encounter after injuring her left knee when hitting a cross forehand in the second game of the match.
The world number 55 screamed “my knee” before falling to the ground in agony, and Osaka rushed to her side of the court to watch her opponent.
Saville, 28, pulled out of the game after several minutes of treatment and Osaka, who has struggled with injuries herself this year, said she felt “really sad” for her opponent.
“I thought she was just screaming because she thought her forehand was out, then I realized she was screaming because she was in pain,” said the former world number one, who is aiming to break a drop in form this week in Tokyo. .
“Then I got really scared because I felt like as athletes we had a pretty high pain tolerance. It felt really bad.”
Saville eventually got up and walked to her chair, but pulled away after testing her knee with several footwork drills.
Osaka said she thought Saville was “doing fine”, adding that she was “a fighter”.
Osaka, who was close to breaking at 30-40 in game two after holding serve in game one, will face Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round on Thursday.
“Right now it always feels kind of weird that I just won a game – I feel like I haven’t won a game,” said Osaka, who has lost in the first round in his last three tournaments. .
“I guess so and I’m progressing in the tournament. I’m not thinking too much about the final at the moment.”
Osaka is the defending Pan Pacific Open champion, although the tournament is being played for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.
Earlier today, 2020 australian open United States champion Sofia Kenin lost 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 to Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez in the first round.
Kenin also reached the French Open final in 2020, but has since fallen to 315 in the world rankings after battling injury.
Seed number six Karolina Pliskovatwo-time Grand Slam finalist, beat Bulgarian qualifier Isabelle Shinikova 6-2, 6-1.



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