Osaka battles into last 16 of US Open

New York (AFP) –


Two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka battled into the last 16 of the US Open on Friday, requiring three sets to defeat 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.

Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, needed 2hr 33min to beat the unseeded world number 137 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 inside an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Japanese fourth seed will play either Estonia's 14th seed Anett Kontavelt or Magda Linette of Poland for a place in the quarter-finals.

Osaka walked onto the court wearing a facemask emblazoned with the name of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was shot dead in broad daylight while jogging in the town of Brunswick, in southern Georgia, in February.

Osaka, an activist against racism and police brutality, is wearing different masks honoring victims of social injustice throughout the tournament.

Ahead of her second-round win on Wednesday she wore a covering with the name Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old African-American man who died in police custody last year after being placed in a chokehold and injected with a sedative.

On Monday, Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open champion, honored Breonna Taylor, the African-American nurse shot dead by police who raided her apartment in Kentucky in March.