Osaka pulls out of Australian Open warm-up with 'niggle'

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Yarra Valley Classic

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Naomi Osaka pulled out of her Gippsland Trophy semi-final on Saturday with "a niggling injury" but said she looked forward to competing at the Australian Open which starts on Monday.

"Sorry to Tennis Australia and the fans to have to withdraw today," Osaka said in statement tweeted by the WTA.

"I have a niggling injury and in light of the AO on the horizon, I need to be cautious. I look forward to competing next week."

The Japanese player, who won at Melbourne Park in 2019, is among the top contenders for the year's first Grand Slam.

Osaka starts with a clash against former quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Belgian Elise Mertens has a walkover to the final of the Gippsland Trophy.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Ken Ferris)