Osaka, who is the highest ranked seed in the women’s semifinal line-up, announced yesterday that she would withdraw from her last four clash against Mertens in protest against the shooting of Jacob Blake, following several US sports teams boycotting matches the same day.
In light of the world number ten’s announcement, the Western and Southern Open and USTA announced that the scheduled semifinals would be pushed to Friday and the final to Saturday, with no play on Thursday.
“I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence,” Osaka said in a statement to the Guardian. “I was ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent.”
“However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”
Osaka, seeded fourth at the tournament, will now take to the court against 14th seed Mertens. The other women’s semifinal sees eighth seed Johanna Konta face Victoria Azarenka, with the men’s semifinals seeing matches between Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut, and Stefanos Tsitsipas and Milos Raonic.