Naomi Osaka survived a tough test from Jennifer Brady on Thursday, 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the US Open final, where she’ll play for her second title in three years.

Osaka played a nearly flawless first set, recording just four errors as both players held serve to force a tiebreak. Osaka dominated the tiebreak, 7-1 to secure the set.

Brady took control in the second, breaking Osaka to take a 5-3 lead before securing the game 6-3. Brady’s break was the first of the match.

Osaka returned the favor in the third and decisive set to take a 3-1 lead. She would hold serve against the American the rest of the way to secure the match and a shot at the third Grand Slam title of her young career.

Osaka to face Victoria Azarenka

Osaka advances to face Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s final. Azarenka rallied after losing the first set to beat Serena Williams 6-1, 3-6, 3-6 in Thursday’s late semifinal.

Osaka honors Castile

Osaka continued to honor victims of police and race violence by wearing a mask baring the name of Philando Castile before and after the match.

Osaka previously honored George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin and Elijah McClain.

Police in Minnesota shot and killed Castile, a 32-year-old black man, during a traffic stop for a malfunctioning brake light in 2016. His girlfriend Diamond Reynolds live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting and said that police shot Castile as he was reaching for his driver’s license at an officer’s request.

A jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of manslaughter in the incident.

Osaka arrived at the US Open with masks bearing a different name for each round of the tournament.

“For me, [it’s about] just spreading awareness,” Osaka said at the outset of the tournament. “I feel like the more people know the story, then the more interesting or interested they’ll become in it.”

She’ll now have the opportunity to wear her last mask and play for the US Open title.

Source: Jason Owens