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Naomi Osaka Re-enters Western & Southern Open on WTA, USTA Request Less Than a Day After Withdrawal

News18 Sports

Last Updated: August 27, 2020, 22:22 IST

New Delhi

Naomi Osaka at Western & Southern Open in New York. (Photo Credit WTA Twitter)

Naomi Osaka at Western & Southern Open in New York. (Photo Credit WTA Twitter)

Naomi Osaka has decided to compete in the Western & Southern Open less than a day after withdrawing from the tournament to protest against racial injustice in US.

Naomi Osaka will be playing in the semi-final of the women’s singles at Western & Southern Open on Friday as she announced her decision, on Thursday, to re-enter the tournament on the request of Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Osaka had pulled out of the tournament in protest against racial injustice in the US. The move came in the wake of African-American Jacob Blake being shot in the back on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She posted a strong statement against the killing of Black people in the United States and said it makes her “sick to my stomach".

However, some 16 hours later, she has decided to compete in the tournament stating that the USTA and WTA decided to postpone the tournament by a day as a strong message, which she feels bring more attention to the movement.

“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent. 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," she said in her statement.

On Thursday, Naomi Osaka came from behind to beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the semi-finals. In the last four, Osaka will be up against Belgian 14th seed Elise Mertens, who eliminated American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-3.

Osaka is the highest seed left in the tournament with the others being Mertens, eighth seed Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka. The Japanese has a high probability of winning the tournament, right before the US Open.

Osaka is one of the confirmed participants of the US Open, which is scheduled to start on Monday. Despite the withdrawal of a number seeded players, including world No.1 Ash Barty and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, Osaka will be playing in New York.

first published:August 27, 2020, 22:09 IST
last updated:August 27, 2020, 22:22 IST
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