ROME: In a battle between former women’s world number ones last night, Karolina Pliskova won through against Victoria Azarenka 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-2 in the women’s quarter-finals of the Italian Open.
The Czech fourth seed next plays Maria Sakkari of Greece who beat France’s Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
But reigning US and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka earlier said she could not compete because of a problem with her right hand.
“I woke up this morning and I couldn’t really move my thumb,” the 21-year-old said. “I tried to practice and grip my racket and I just felt this pain every time I tried to move my hand in different directions.”
The Japanese star was due to meet Madrid Open champion and sixth seed Kiki Bertens.
The Dutch player now goes through to meet Britain’s Johanna Konta, who battled past Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
The Briton defeated Americans Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams in her two matches on Thursday.
Konta, celebrating her 28th birthday, hit 42 winners against the 19-year-old Vondrousova and dominated the final set to clinch victory in one hour 53 minutes.
She heads towards this month’s French Open in fine form on clay, having finished runner-up in the Morocco Open at the start of May.
“I haven’t seen the doctor yet. I’ve seen the physio,” Osaka said.
She said she could stay in Rome before going on to the French Open, but did not rule out competing at 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.”
Osaka won twice on Thursday after the previous day’s play was rained off, retaining the world number one spot ahead of the French Open.