Osaka set up Western and Southern Open final with Azarenka

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2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka reached the Western and Southern Open final with a straight-set win against Belgian Elise Mertens t on Friday, August 28, 2020.

The 22-year-old Japanese stop Mertens 6-2, 7-6 (5) will play Belarusian Victoria Azarenka a former world No. 1 in the final. after.

Osaka, who walked onto the Grandstand court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt.

The world No.10 and two-time Grand Slam champion said on court after the two-hour match that it had been a stressful 48 hours and she was not able to sleep much last night.

Osaka broke Mertens three times to race through the opening set but was forced to dig deep after the 14th-seeded Belgian won four straight games to go 4-2 up in the second set.

The Japanese settled down and broke to level at 4-4 and then brilliantly saved eight break points to pull ahead 5-4 before displaying exceptional power in the tiebreak.

The Western and Southern Open is usually held in Cincinnati but was move to New to create a two-tournament safety bubble that also incorporates the US Open, which starts on Monday, August 31 and is the first Grand Slam since the sport was put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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