Osaka into Western & Southern final after calling for racial justice - Sportsnet.ca

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Naomi Osaka is into the Western & Southern Open finals following a one-day break in the tournament prompted by her call for racial justice.

Osaka, the only Top 10 player left in the women’s bracket, sparked the break by announcing she would drop out of the tournament rather than play a semifinal match against Elise Mertens. Osaka chose to keep playing after the unified one-day show of support.She struggled with her serve — her toss was repeatedly off the mark — but gritted out a 6-2, 7-6 victory to reach her first Western & Southern title match.

Osaka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, held serve to open her match against against 14th-seeded Mertens, and then broke for a 2-0 lead that set the tone. Osaka surged ahead 5-1. One alarming moment: Osaka grabbed her left hamstring after chasing a ball during the tiebreaker, but completed the match without pause. Osaka won the 2018 U.S. Open and will be coming off a successful week — in many ways — heading into this one.

Osaka will face resurgent Victoria Azarenka, who beat Johanna Konta 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Western & Southern final for the first time since 2013, when she beat Serena Williams.

 

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