Osaka will play in Cincinnati semi-finals

Naomi Osaka has confirmed that she will take part in the semi-finals of the Western and Southern Open on Friday. She had previously indicated that she intended to withdraw from the tournament. But she announced in a prepared statement that she had been asked to play and she thought doing so would bring more attention … Continued

Naomi Osaka at Western and Southern Open, August 2020, Flushing Meadows, New York

Naomi Osaka has confirmed that she will take part in the semi-finals of the Western and Southern Open on Friday. She had previously indicated that she intended to withdraw from the tournament.

But she announced in a prepared statement that she had been asked to play and she thought doing so would bring more attention to the causes of racial injustice and police brutality she was protesting.

“I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent,” Osaka said.

“However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”

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The former world No 1 had said on Wednesday night that she would not play her match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens – originally scheduled for Thursday – as part of her stance against racism.

The Order of Play :
11 am (Grand Stand) : Osaka – Mertens
11 am (Court n°10) : Konta – Azarenka
1 pm (Armstrong) : Tsitsipas – Raonic
FB (Armstrong) : Djokovic – Bautista Agut

The Japanese star, who is seeded fourth at the tournament, progressed through the draw with victories over Karolina Muchova, Dayana Yastremska, and Anett Kontaveit.

She wrote on social media on Wednesday:
Before I am a athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.
The Western and Southern Open is being held this year at Flushing Meadows – the same venue as the US Open.
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