Osaka pulls out of Italian Open with injury

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Naomi Osaka reached the Miami Open final earlier this season (AFP/MARTIN BUREAU) (MARTIN BUREAU)

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Italian Open in Rome to rest an Achilles injury ahead of the French Open, the WTA said on Monday.

The four-time Grand Slam champion suffered the injury in her opening match in Madrid earlier this month, before struggling in a second-round loss to Sara 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," the Japanese star said in a statement.

"It's an Achilles injury so I need to be careful, especially in advance of Roland Garros."

The former world number one has never reached the final of a clay-court tournament, but will be hoping to put that record straight at the French Open which starts on May 22.

Osaka, currently ranked 38th, has shown signs of a return to form this year.

The 24-year-old reached the Miami Open final, where she lost to world number one Iga Swiatek, in April.

She has been replaced in the Rome draw by Spain's Nuria Parrizas Dias.

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