A Japanese noodle company has apologised for “halfing” Australian Open semi-finalist Naomi Osaka in a cartoon advertisement.

Instant noodle brand Nissin was forced to retract the advertisement after criticism on social media for depicting Osaka as a half-yellow-half-black-skinned woman.

A Nissin spokesman apologised saying the cartoons were drawn in line with popular beliefs.

“Her yellow side is the forehand side, which is a lot more powerful,” the spokesman said in a written statement.

“While her black side controls the backhand side, which is her overwhelming weakness.”

In the cartoon advertisement, Osaka loses the majority of her points through unforced backhand errors.