Naomi Osaka pulls out of Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo due to illness on Thursday while Serena Williams plays a five-setter in the quarterfinals, beating Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 3-6, 6-2.
The American was on the verge of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease similar to lupus, but after a complete physical was run and passed, she was cleared to play. The 24-year-old was also diagnosed with a minor heart condition, but she’s since recovered.
Williams, who plays her fourth major, withdrew from the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo after a five-set loss to Schiavone at this year’s U.S. Open.
Williams’ withdrawal was expected since Osaka was sick after making the semi-finals of the Wuhan Open in China earlier this week. Osaka went on to win the title at the Wuhan Open.
The Osaka’s withdrawal didn’t leave Serena Williams without any top-flight opponents. The U.S. Open finalist will face Jelena Ostapenko, the winner of the 2017 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon doubles title, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the top seed reached her first French Open semi-final on Tuesday. She had lost the opening set to American qualifier Kaia Kanepi but came back to beat the Ukrainian 6-3, 6-4. Ostapenko will win the French Open title, the first woman to ever accomplish the feat since Steffi Graf in 1974.
It will also give Williams the most women’s Grand Slam singles titles in Grand Slam history, but it won’t be enough for her to join Graf as the only U.S. women’s singles champion who have accomplished the feat. Graf won 17 Grand Slam singles titles in a 15-year women’s career.