Rome: Roger Federer, ranked three in the world pulled out, while Naomi Osaka called it quits before her quarter final of the Italian Open, here on Friday. Federer, a four-time Rome finalist, had been due to meet Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the semi-finals. The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam winner was playing in Rome to prepare for his return to the French Open for the first time since 2015. “I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today,” said Federer. “I am not 100 percent physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play. Rome has always been one of my favourite cities to visit and I hope to be back next year.”
The 37-year-old saved two match points to win through 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) against Borna Coric to advance to the quarter-finals after earlier easing to a straight sets win over Portgual’s Joaa Suosa. World number one Osaka said she was between sad and disappointed. “I woke up this morning and I couldn’t really move my thumb,” the 21-year-old told a press conference. “I can’t move my hand. I can’t move my thumb and I’m not sure I can play my match. Osaka said she could stay in Rome before going on to the French Open, but did not rule out competing in Roland Garros. “I’m going to stay here for one more day and see how it is,” she said. “I haven’t really talked to everyone so don’t really know the plan is yet. I’ve never had this problem before, it’s brand new.”
She eased into the last eight in Rome with a 6-3 6-3 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu, after earlier beating Slovak Dominika Cibulkova by the same scoreline, as players doubled up after the previous day was washed out. But Osaka’s top spot was guaranteed when reigning Roland Garros champion Halep fell to Czech Marketa Vondrousova 2-6 7-5 6-3 in the second round.