News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Caribbean roots tennis star Naomi Osaka made it through to the finals of the US 2020 Open last night, dispatching Jennifer Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3 to take her spot in the finals and don her 7th mask of the tourney.
She will play the winner of the Serena Williams Victoria Azarenka match.
And after the win, she again donned the Philando Castile mask she had entered the Arthur Ashe Stadium with. Osaka, still just 22, is now one victory away from a third Grand Slam title that could again see Osaka and Williams duke it out for the trophy and bragging rights.
But while the Japanese Haitian No. 4 seed’s return is historic, it is her masks in the era of Black Lives Matter and the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced a fan-less tennis match, that is making headlines. Her tribute to Castile Thursday was the sixth mask and fans will have to wait to see which police brutality victim will make the finals with her.
Osaka paid tribute to George Floyd in her quarter finals match. She also displayed the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin in the matches prior to the quarter finals. After that match, Osaka spoke of the significance of her statement and how emotional the process has been for her.
“Actually, I was just trying really hard not to cry,” she said during the post-match press conference. “For me, it’s a bit surreal and it’s extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I’m doing. I feel like what I’m doing is nothing. It’s a speck of what I could be doing. So it was really emotional. I feel like after I saw it, at first I was a bit in shock, but now that I’m here and I took some time, I’m really grateful and really humbled.”
Osaka won the US Open title in 2018 and hopes to earn her third Grand Slam Championship tomorrow.