Naomi Osaka
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Naomi Osaka continues spreading message, winning at U.S. Open

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It was nine days ago that Naomi Osaka made one of, if not the biggest statement of her tennis career by choosing not to play.

On court at the U.S. Open this week, Osaka consolidated pre-event favorite status by marching into the fourth round.

The 2018 Open champion’s latest win, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 over 137th-ranked Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk on Friday afternoon, set up her first match against a fellow seed on Sunday, No. 13 Anett Kontaveit.

Osaka had a chance to close out Kostyuk in straight sets. She lost the last four points of the second-set tiebreak and flung her racket across the baseline.

“While I was playing, honestly, I was cursing myself out,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to know what I was saying.”

US OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

As Osaka said in withdrawing during the Western & Southern Open last week, she is a Black woman before she is an athlete. Osaka’s decision not to play her scheduled semifinal at the pre-U.S. Open tournament, calling for racial justice, led to support from other players and the event stopping altogether for a day.

Osaka, who has a Haitian father and Japanese mother, was born in Japan, grew up in the U.S. and represents Japan, won the rescheduled semifinal. She then pulled out before the next day’s final with Victoria Azarenka due to a left hamstring injury.

Osaka was unsure what to expect at the U.S. Open given the short turnaround. Still, she had seven different face masks at the ready, one for each of her matches in case she made a run to the final.

On each mask is a name, revealed as the No. 4 seed walks on court. The first three — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and Ahmaud Arbery.

“Google the name, research the story, find out exactly what’s going on,” Osaka said after her second-round win over Italian veteran Camila Giorgi on Wednesday. “I’m just trying to spread the story and spread awareness. I feel like it’s helping. I hope it’s helping.”

Osaka, who flew to Minneapolis in the spring to pay respect to George Floyd and have her voice heard on the streets, endures after what she called an emotional week before the Open. She swept Giorgi and outlasted Kostyuk with that hamstring wrapped.

“I don’t really pay attention too much,” she said when asked before Friday’s match about the injury. “Obviously it’s not 100 percent, but for me, I’m here right now, so I’m fit enough to play.”

And ready to continue using her platform.

“It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names,” Osaka said after her first-round win. “Hopefully, I’ll get to the finals, and you can see all of them.”

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Coco Gauff eliminated from French Open

Coco Gauff
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PARIS (AP) — American teenager Coco Gauff’s French Open debut ended in the second round after she double-faulted 19 times in a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 loss to 159th-ranked qualifier Martina Trevisan.

Gauff double-faulted twice in the last game of the 2-hour, 11-minute match.

The 16-year-old Gauff has reached at least the third round at the other three major tournaments.

For Trevisan, a 26-year-old from Italy, this was her first victory in a Grand Slam match played to its conclusion.

She lost in the first round at the Australian Open this year in her first appearance at a major, then advanced Sunday at Roland Garros when her opponent, Camila Giorgi, stopped playing in the second set because of an injury.

Against Gauff, Trevisan kept yelling, “Yes!” and “Let’s go!” in Italian between points, then let out a high-pitched scream when the match ended.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier, Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the third round by beating American player Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.

The No. 2-seeded Spaniard is looking to win his record-extending 13th French Open title and equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 major titles overall.

Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros to 95-2 when he sealed victory on his first match point. He next faces 74th-ranked Stefano Travaglia of Italy.

Sebastian Korda has now beaten two tour veterans in his first French Open.

After eliminating Andreas Seppi in his opening main draw match, the 20-year-old American qualifier took out 21st-seeded John Isner in the second round with a 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win.

A former junior world No. 1 and winner of the boys title at the 2018 Australian Open — and the son of 1992 French Open finalist Petr Korda — Korda broke Isner’s normally dominant serve five times.

The No. 213-ranked Korda will next face either Mikhail Kukushkin or qualifier Pedro Martinez on Friday.

Also, No. 27-seeded American Taylor Fritz reached the third round by serving 16 aces in a straight-set victory over Radu Albot.

MORE: Serena Williams ‘struggling to walk’

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix Final postponed

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The Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest annual international figure skating competition, will not take place as scheduled in December in Beijing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Skating Union announced Wednesday that the Final was postponed.

There were “a number of logistical points raised by potentially participating teams that meant that hosting the competitions on the scheduled dates (close to the end of year holidays and national championships) would have impacted on the number of participants, given the potential need to quarantine on returning to their home country,” according to the ISU.

The ISU is “evaluating the continuation” of the upcoming season and possible rescheduling of the competition in China, which doubles as a 2022 Beijing Olympic test event.

The Grand Prix Final, held every December after the six-event Grand Prix Series, is the biggest indicator of Olympic and world championships medal prospects.

The Grand Prix Series is still scheduled to start with Skate America in Las Vegas from Oct. 23-25.

Fields have not been announced, but skaters are restricted to compete at the event in their home nation or in or near their training location.

The ISU also announced that the remaining World Cup short track speed skating stops in 2020 were postponed or canceled — Seoul and Beijing, both in December.

Previously, the first short track World Cups in November were canceled. All four of the long-track speed skating World Cups scheduled this fall were also canceled.

The next scheduled World Cup short- or long-track events are in February.

MORE: Alysa Liu grows on the ice and adds inches, too

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