Naomi Osaka of Japan interacts with fans following a second round match victory over Tatjana Maria of Germany on Day 5 of the Rogers Cup at Aviva Centre on August 07, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/AFP

TORONTO, – Japan’s Naomi Osaka advanced to the third round of the WTA Toronto tournament on Wednesday, ensuring Australian Ashleigh Barty will be dethroned this week as world number one.

Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, won after taking the first set 6-2 when Germany’s Tatjana Maria retired with a left abdominal injury.

Osaka had not played a match since losing to Yulia Putintseva in the first round at Wimbledon.

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The victory gives Osaka the inside track on taking the top spot in Monday’s new rankings.

Third-ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, however, could overtake Barty, the French Open champion who lost in Toronto on Tuesday, and Osaka to seize the number one ranking as well.

Pliskova defeated 37th-ranked American Alison Riske 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2.

The 27-year-old Czech must reach the semi-finals for any chance at taking world number one, but if Osaka makes the last eight, Pliskova must reach the final to have a hope at being number one next week.

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Pliskova will next play Estonia’s 19th-ranked Anett Kontaveit, who made the third round when Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro retired with an injury at 7-5, 3-1 down.

In the day’s other early second round tie, 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine beat two-time major winner and former number one Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 7-5. (AFP)



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