Fourth seed Naomi Osaka overcame mid-match sluggishness to defeat compatriot Misaki Doi 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the evening session of opening day’s play at the 2020 US Open. Osaka needed two hours and three minutes to wrap the encounter.
The two-time Major champion who had pulled out before the final of the Western & Southern Open this past Saturday with a hamstring injury showed no physical weaknesses in the course of the match. Osaka started the match confidently and breezed through the opening set.
However, Doi’s flamboyant game helped her gain an early service break in the second. Although Osaka broke back, in the final stages of the set, tiredness seemed to have caught up with her and she went down in the set.
She recovered well in the third set and two breaks of serve ensured she made her way through to the round-of-64. After the match, Osaka said, “It was very difficult. I kind of expected it – first-round nerves and I know she’s a tough opponent”.
Naomi Osaka's off-the-court gesture
Earlier, while making her way onto the court, Osaka made a statement by wearing a Breonna Taylor face mask. Taylor was a victim of police shooting and her death, too, was the epicentre of several protests.
Osaka said she had seven such masks that she would be using in the days ahead and added, “No, I have seven. It’s quite sad that seven masks (aren’t) enough for all the (number) of names. Hopefully, I’ll get to the final and you can see all of them”.
The former world no. 1 was also asked about her decision to stand-up against such atrocities. To this, she said, “A lot of people ask me if I feel more stressed out ever since I started speaking out more. To be honest, not really.
At this point, like, if you don't like me, it is what it is. You know what I mean? I'm kind of here for pride. I don't have to be here”. At the Western & Southern Open last week, Osaka announced she wouldn’t not play her quarter-final on the scheduled date as a mark of protest against yet another police brutality.
The USTA, WTA and ATP decided to cancel the day’s session and postpone the allocated matches to the following day. Meanwhile, moving ahead, in the second round, at the 2020 US Open, Naomi Osaka will take on Camila Giorgi. The Italian beat Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 in their opener. Photo Credit: Simon Bruty/USTA
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