Naomi Osaka opts to play Western & Southern Open semi-final on Friday

Naomi Osaka opts to play Western & Southern Open semi-final on Friday

Tennis player Naomi Osaka stood alone when she withdrew from the Western & Southern Open in NY on Wednesday, hours after she had battled back from a set down to defeat Anett Kontaveit and reach the semifinals.

"As you know, I pulled out of the tournament [Wednesday] in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. As a Black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis", she wrote on social media.

Japan's Naomi Osaka attends a news conference after winning her match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.

Sunday's (August 23) shooting of Wisconsin resident Jacob Blake has caused the world to take notice of another officer-involved shooting, prompting already-existing protests to intensify. "The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have made a decision to recognize this moment in time by pausing play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27".

Like many athletes in the current political climate, Osaka is illustrating the power of individual protest in changing industries and bringing issues of social justice to a wider audience.

"Play will resume on Friday, August 28".

Earlier on Wednesday, the two-time Grand Slam champion fell behind by a set and a break in the match against Kontaveit but ripped off a nine-game streak that would eventually book her a place in her first semifinal at the U.S. Open warm-up tournament.

All play at the US Open warm-up event was suspended on Thursday as the ATP, WTA and ITF stood in unison, and world No 10 Osaka has decided that in support of the movement and as a result of today's suspension, she will play in her last-four encounter against Elise Mertens tomorrow.

"I'm exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I'm extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again", she said.

Whether reluctant to lose her vibrant presence or shamed into action by her bravery, the U.S. Tennis Assn. and men's and women's tennis tours agreed to pause play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday "to recognize this moment in time".

"When will it ever be enough?"

British number one Johanna Konta punched her ticket to the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-3 win over Greece's Maria Sakkari, who entered the match fresh off a win over Serena Williams for one of the biggest wins of her career.

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