Naomi Osaka brought seven masks to the US Open to highlight racial injustice and based on her showing in Tuesday’s quarter-final match, Flushing Meadows looks destined to see them all.
Before her 6-3, 6-4 victory over Shelby Rogers, the former champion unveiled the fifth mask, emblazoned with the name of George Floyd, the black American who died in police custody in May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Two more remain in Osaka’s kit bag for the semi-final against Jenny Brady of the US and potentially her second US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
“I just have a feeling,” she told ESPN, explaining how she decided which mask to wear. “I feel like I’m a vessel in order to spread awareness.”
The highlighting of the issue has taken a little of the focus away from what has been a highly impressive tournament for the fourth seed as she has made her way to her third Grand Slam semi-final.
On Tuesday, she made just eight unforced errors across two sets against a player with some big shots who she had never beaten before.
“She played pretty flawless,” Rogers said. “I think she can go a couple more if she wants. She’s more confident in who she is, what her game is, how to play.”
Osaka, who at 22 has two Grand Slam titles after winning the 2018 US Open and backing up at last year’s Australian Open, said that she spent a lot of time during the COVID-19 shutdown thinking about her approach to tennis.
“Honestly, the whole of 2019 after I won Australia, I just put too much pressure on myself, I wasn’t enjoying it,” Osaka said. “When you come out on Ashe, there’s a Billy Jean King quote: ‘Pressure is a privilege,’ and I feel it’s unbelievably true.”
FIRING BLANKS: West Brom and Burnley had conceded a combined 21 goals in their seven games, but the 47th match of the season was the first to end goalless Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday climbed to sixth place in the English Premier League as Raul Jimenez sealed a 1-0 win at Leeds United on a night West Bromwich Albion and Burnley played out the first goalless draw in the division this season. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves clinched their third league win of the campaign when Jimenez’s second-half strike deflected in off Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Mexico striker’s third goal of the season made it back-to-back wins for Wolves after they beat Fulham before the international break. “It was a good performance with some aspects to improve. We were better in the second
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
Maybe Kyler Murray will lose a game on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys one of these days. It was not going to be on Monday, when the Arizona quarterback watched the star running back of his hometown team have another night of “fumble-itis.” Murray accounted for three touchdowns in his first game back home as a professional and Ezekiel Elliott set up the visiting team’s first two touchdowns with fumbles as the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-10. The speedy quarterback, who won three high-school championships and a Big 12 title at the home of the Cowboys, improved to 7-0 as
Patrick Mahomes on Monday did not mind taking a back seat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Kansas City Chiefs’ running attack. With the Buffalo Bills working hard to limit deep throws by Mahomes, he gladly kept handing off the ball as Kansas City beat Buffalo 26-17 in a game originally scheduled for Thursday last week. “You know my nature, I want to throw it deep every time. We want to go down and throw these long touchdowns, but if teams are going to play us like this, we’ve got to show we can run the football,” Mahomes said. Mission accomplished. Led by Edwards-Helaire’s