08/16 19:39 CDT Naomi Osaka's knee injury brings uncertainty to US Open
Naomi Osaka's knee injury brings uncertainty to US Open
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
MASON, Ohio (AP) --- Naomi Osaka felt a strange sensation in her left knee,
different than anything she'd experienced. The U.S. Open champion left the
court worried about whether she'll be in shape to defend her precious title.
Osaka retired from her quarterfinal match at the Western & Southern Open on
Friday, unsure what's going on in the knee. She expected to get an MRI.
For now, the player currently ranked No. 1 in the world is concerned about her
chances of making another deep run in New York.
"Last year, I won the U.S. Open," she said. "This year, I'm trying to play the
The problem came out of the blue.
Osaka split two sets with Sofia Kenin. She felt something unusual in the knee
while serving early in the third set. After a timeout to have it examined and
wrapped, she played a couple more points before retiring .
"I have no idea what's going on," she said.
With that, Kenin advanced to the semifinals for the second straight week.
During her run to the semifinals in Toronto, she knocked off then-No. 1
Ashleigh Barty, an upset that allowed Osaka to move up to the top ranking.
She'll face Madison Keys, who beat Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3 to reach the
semifinals for the first time.
Barty is in position to snatch it back heading into the Open. She beat Maria
Sakkari 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 with an encouraging all-around effort.
"Still not quite there, but we're getting better and better each match," the
French Open champion said. "I think that's the beauty of being able to stay
alive in the tournament is to give myself an opportunity to keep getting
better. I think I'm still aiming to obviously do very well here, but the big
picture is New York in 10 days' time."
She needs some work on those first sets, though.
Barty got ahead 5-2 in her opening set and got sloppy, letting it slip away. It
was the second straight day that Barty rallied after dropping a first set. She
fought off a match point during a three-set win over Anett Kontaveit on
Thursday, showing poise that she'd need to draw upon again a day later.
"There is certainly no panic, where it gets to the stage where I'm kind of
overwrought or can't think straight," she said. "I'm still able to, more times
than not, have the ability to relax and kind of stay clear and come back to
Barty will face Svetlana Kuznetsova, who reached her first semifinal of the
season by beating third-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Kuznetsova is playing only her ninth event after missing the start of the
season because of a knee injury. On a hot, humid afternoon, she got treatment
for tightness in her upper right leg after the second set and twice again
during the final one.
On the men's side, qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew because of illness,
sending David Goffin into the semifinals. Nishioka had a good tournament
showing, beating sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori --- a player he called his hero ---
and Alex De Minaur to reach the quarterfinals.
Goffin will face Richard Gasquet, who advanced with a three-set victory over
Roberto Bautista Agut. Gasquet had groin surgery in January and fell to No. 68
in the ATP rankings on July 29, his lowest in nine years. He's back in an ATP
Masters 1000 semifinal for the first time since 2013 in Miami.
Seven-time champion Roger Federer was upset Thursday, leaving Novak Djokovic as
the only high seed left in the bracket.
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