April 2, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Naomi Osaka has reached the Miami Open final for the first time since 2021

Naomi Osaka has reached the Miami Open final for the first time since 2021

The Four-time Grand Slam champion World number one Iga Swatik will now play for the title in Osaka’s first final since last year’s Australian Open.

Osaka, who has struggled for her fitness since her retirement from the sport, recovered from a set down to beat the Swiss 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an entertaining semi-final.

“(I was) just fighting my inner thoughts and trying to know I have to play one point at a time and adapt if I have to but try not to confuse myself with my thoughts,” she told reporters.

“I feel like if I had been negative for a split second, I would have lost the match today.

“I have to keep improving myself and I haven’t played as many games as many of these other players, so I have to keep learning.”

‘Very grateful’

At Indian Wells last month, Osaka was harassed by a spectator early in her second-round match against Veronika Kudermitova.

The spectator seemed to yell, “Naomi, you raunchy!” Osaka looked shaky, losing the first set 6-0 and eventually losing the match in straight sets.

Osaka has since confirmed that she has started seeing a therapist to deal with her mental health after revealing that she suffered bouts of depression last year.

But it looks like Osaka is now finding her best tennis again and has a chance to win another title against an unfamiliar opponent.

The duo have met only once with Osaka winning in straight sets in 2019. However, Swiatek will be the women’s world number one on Monday as she looks to continue her winning streak in 16 straight matches.

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The final takes place on Saturday and Osaka is looking forward to returning to the field.

“The guy doesn’t know what’s going on but I’m so grateful now,” she chirp. “Cheers to the ups and downs of life that make me appreciate this moment even more.

“We’re back in the final, see you on Saturday.”