Naomi Osaka vowed to continue highlighting issues of racial injustice after reaching the second round of the US Open and a convincing victory over Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi.
Osaka, who initially crashed out of his semifinals at last week’s Western and Southern Open in solidarity with protesters, wore a face-mask on the court, bearing the name of Bruna Taylor, who was shot by police in Louisville in March Was given.
The 22-year-old Osaka said after his 6–2, 5–7, 6–2 victory that he planned to wear a different shooting victim’s name mask for each round, which remains in this year’s tournament .
Naomi Osaka is wearing a face mask named Bryo Taylor, shot by police in Louisville in March
26-year-old Briana Taylor was shot eight times while sleeping in bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker after three plainclothes officers performed a no-knock arrest warrant on March 13 in a Louisville apartment.
Police fired more than 20 rounds at Taylor’s apartment, killing a 26-year-old man
Bretton Taylor dies
When the three cops – Sergeant Bryo Taylor was sleeping in bed. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankinson and Miles Cosgrove – barged into their Louisville home just after midnight on March 13.
Her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, a licensed firearm carrier, thought the robbers were entering the house and opened fire, killing an officer on foot in self-defense.
Police responded by firing more than 20 rounds at the apartment and hitting Taylor.
Authorities claim they identified themselves as police upon arrival to the property but this has been disputed by Walker and Taylor’s family.
Copies were not wearing body cameras at the time.
Authorities were searching for convicted drug dealer Jamarkus Glover, who they believed kept drugs or money at home.
However, no drugs or cash were found in Taylor’s apartment and Glover was arrested and taken into police custody 10 miles before the raid at his address.
Osaka told Amazon Prime: ‘Actually I have seven (masks), and it’s quite sad that seven masks are not enough for names.
‘So hopefully I will reach the finals and all of you can see.’
Taylor was killed when three police officers – Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankinson and Miles Cosgrove – stormed into his apartment in search of convicted drug dealer Jamarkus Glover.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired, believing the robbers had penetrated, before police responded that they fired more than 20 rounds.
Taylor was killed eight times and died on the night of March 13, which erupted after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Osaka reversed his decision to withdraw from last week’s tournament after discussions with organizers, only to be ruled out before the final due to a hamstring injury against Victoria Azarenka.
And that adversity appeared clear when he worked long hours, needing just two hours to win over an opponent who had won just one match in seven previous matches in the US Open main draw.
“It was very difficult and I expected it because I know he is a tough opponent,” Osaka said. ‘I knew there was a chance that it would get really long and I would just have to see how I feel tomorrow.’
With six of the women’s top 10 absent from this year’s tournament, Osaka is one of the favorites to get the title won for the first time in 2018.
But despite backing up those predictions in an opening set in which he had threatened to tear Doi apart, he looked tired and unreliable to much of the second, with Doi fired back.
None of the world’s 89 points was in a 5-2 lead and although Osaka bounced back to level, Doi held his nerve to force the decider.
After breaking up in the opening game, Doi called a final effort to fashion the next two matches, but Osaka survived and went on to claim what was clear if he ultimately did not win outright.
Osaka won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 over compatriot Misaki Doi in the first round of the US Open
Osaka revealed that she would wear the mask of different shooting victims’ names each round
She taps the racket with Doo after beating him in three sets a day at Flushing Meadows
Nor was it completely plain sailing for No 1 seed Karolina Pliskova, who gave up service in her first game, but recovered Anahelina Kalina to depart.
Following the return of Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, the world number 3, who promoted top billing, won 6-4, 6-0 in an hour inside the vacant Arthur Ash Stadium.
The tournament in New York is being played behind closed doors, with only a few support staff present.
The 28-year-old Czech beat early in the Western and Southern Open last week, saying, ‘I felt better than my last match last week. I think center court is a better place to play.
‘I mean, it’s still without people, but I just felt a little better somehow. And I had a lot of practice on this court, so I thought it was just a lot of use.
Karolina Pliskova plays forehand return during Anahelina Kalina’s win in New York
‘Also, just to play without people, I think that even though I had only one match without people, I thought it helped me to know what it feels like.’
Two former Wimbledon champions, Angelique Karber and Petra Kvitova, also reached the second round with little fuss.
In SW19, 2018 winner Kerber defeated Ajla Tomlajanovic of Australia, German 17th seeded 6-4 6-4.
Two-time Wimbledon winner Quitova came against Irina-Camellia Begu, winning the sixth seed 6-3, 6-2.