Different day, different mask, same result for Naomi Osaka as she sails into third round

US Open
Naomi Osaka wearing an Elijah McClain mask

Naomi Osaka continued to make statements both with her tennis and her masks on Wednesday as she booked her place in the third round of the US Open with victory over Camila Giorgi

After promising to wear a different mask with the name of a racial injustice victim during each of her matches at Flushing Meadows, the two-time Grand Slam winner duly delivered as she entered Arthur Ashe Stadium with “Elijah McClain” written on her mask.

The 23-year-old McClain died in 2019 following an encounter with Aurora, Colorado, police officers.

Once play got underway, Osaka brushed aside Giorgi with a 6-2, 6-1 victory in one hour and 10 minutes.

“My serve was pretty good,” the former world No 1 said after the match. “I’m really happy with my attitude. I thought I was really positive throughout.”

She added: “I’m definitely seeing the importance in time management. I learned a lot from watching Serena [Williams] because she was down almost 3-0 but I feel like she picked it up when she knew what she needed to do.”

As for wearing a McClain mask, Osaka explained why she wanted to “represent him well”.

“When I heard about his story it was very hurtful,” she said. “In a lawsuit filed last month against the city of Aurora and its police, McClain’s family alleged he was tackled by police officers during an encounter despite presenting no physical threat.

“I still don’t think his name is very put out there compared to, like, George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. For me, today was very special in the way that I wanted to represent him very well.”

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