Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from this week’s Italian Open with an Achilles injury.
The four-time grand slam champion sustained the problem at the Madrid Open last week and struggled during a second-round loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Osaka said in a statement: “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. It’s an Achilles injury so I need to be careful, especially in advance of Roland Garros.”
Meanwhile, veteran Stan Wawrinka claimed his first victory since last year’s Australian Open over 14th seed Reilly Opelka.
Wawrinka, 37, was off the tour for just over a year following surgery on his foot, making his comeback at the end of March.
Opelka, a semi-finalist in Rome last year, looked to be in control at a set and a break up but Wawrinka battled his way back into the match and turned things around impressively against the giant American to win 3-6 7-5 6-2.
Wawrinka said: “In general I was feeling good on the court. Physically I was feeling great. For sure, when you don’t win a match in more than a year, you start to think always about it more than what you should and not focus on the right things.
“In general I think it was a great match, great battle. I stayed positive. I started to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and the third set. I’m really happy with this victory.”
Dan Evans, who found his form on clay in Madrid, was unable to claim a first victory in Rome, letting a first-set lead slip and going down 7-6 (2) 6-2 to big-hitting Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Dominic Thiem is still searching for his first win since making a comeback from a long-term wrist injury.
The Austrian, a former world number three, slipped to a fourth straight defeat since returning to action, going down 6-4 7-6 (5) against Italian Fabio Fognini.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov swore at the crowd on his way to a bad-tempered 7-6 (5) 3-6 6-3 win over local favourite Lorenzo Sonego.
The Canadian 13th seed snapped in the second set after being hit with a point penalty for crossing the net, and screamed “shut the f*** up!” as the crowd cheered.
The photo you all came to see 😁
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 9, 2022
Meanwhile there was a first win for the new ‘little and large’ doubles team of 5ft 7in Diego Schwartzman and 6ft 10in John Isner.
The unlikely pairing won a match tie-break to beat Andres Molteni and Santiago Gonzalez 5-7 6-3 10-1.