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Osaka cruises into third round at US Open

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 29: Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot during her Women’s Singles second round match against Magda Linette of Poland on day four of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Top-ranked defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced to the third round of the US Open on Thursday by defeating Poland’s 53rd-ranked Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4.

The 21-year-old Japanese star, also the reigning Australian Open champion, will next face either US 15-year-old Coco Gauff, the world number 140 who reached the fourth round in July at Wimbledon, or 112th-ranked Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos.

Linette broke Osaka in the second game of the second set and leaped ahead 3-0 before the top seed rallied to capture six of the last seven games and close out the match in 71 minutes.

“I’m really happy to not have to play a three-set match,” Osaka said.

Among the celebrities watching her match at Louis Armstrong Stadium were retired NBA star Kobe Bryant and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling protest became a national symbol for objecting to racial inequality and social injustice.

“I’m really grateful they came out,” Osaka said. “It’s really cool. I honestly just wanted to finish as fast as possible because I didn’t want them to be out in the sun too long.”

Osaka thanked the supportive crowd, saying, “You guys were really nice to me. It gives me a lot of energy and makes it so much more fun.”


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