Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

US Open: Naomi Osaka gains 'revenge' on Shelby Rogers to reach semi-finals

Fourth seed too strong for her American opponent and will play Jennifer Brady on Thursday for a place in the final

Naomi Osaka, wearing a face mask emblazoned with the name George Floyd, hits balls into the stands after her US Open quarter-final win over Shelby Rogers. AP Photo
Naomi Osaka, wearing a face mask emblazoned with the name George Floyd, hits balls into the stands after her US Open quarter-final win over Shelby Rogers. AP Photo

Naomi Osaka said she considered her US Open win over Shelby Rogers as "revenge" after beating the American 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 2018 US Open champion brushed aside the 27-year-old American in one hour, 20 minutes inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Osaka, 22, will play 28th-seeded American Jennifer Brady on Thursday for a place in the final.

Despite going into the last-eight match as favorite, fourth seed Osaka said she was apprehensive about playing the 93rd-ranked Rogers because she had failed to beat her in three previous outings.

"Honestly, I just felt like she had the upper hand because I've never beaten her," Osaka said. "And those memories are stuck in my head so I consider this a little bit of revenge."

Osaka said a defeat to Rogers in 2017 on clay in Charleston had left "a really bad aftertaste in my mouth."

"I'm really glad I was able to have a much better positive attitude today," she said.

Brady, 25, earlier ousted 23rd seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2.

Osaka, of Haitian and Japanese heritage, walked onto the court wearing a face mask emblazoned with the name of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man whose death in police custody in May sparked nationwide protests.

The 2019 Australian Open champion is wearing different masks honoring victims of racial injustice and police brutality throughout the tournament.

She has already donned face coverings bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

After her match, Osaka was shown video messages from Martin's mother and Arbery's father in which they thanked thanked her for her support.

"I was just trying really hard not to cry," Osaka said when asked about how she felt while watching the videos.

"It's extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I'm doing. For me, I feel like what I'm doing is nothing. It's a speck of what I could be doing."

Osaka later tweeted that she wept after watching the clips again.

"I often wonder if what I'm doing is resonating and reaching as many people as I hope. That being said, I tried to hold it in on set but after watching these back I cried so much.

"The strength and the character both of these parents have is beyond me," she wrote.

Updated: September 9, 2020 09:52 AM

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