Osaka has the Breast Cancer Awareness In October We Wear Pink Walk Gift Shirt in other words I will buy this easier task. While Brady has been utterly dominant in her route to the semis thus far—cruising largely behind her superior fitness and a winner-takes-all forehand, which her opponents have, as of yet, had no answer for—there are two reasons to suspect that she might have ridden this particular Grand Slam train to its last stop: The first is that, audience or no audience, she’s never played on a stage this big before, and the second is that she faces Naomi Osaka. The Serena Azarenka matchup, meanwhile, promises to be a mom-versus-mom barn burner. Never mind that Azarenka is a mere 4–18 against Serena—or that the 31-year-old Belarusian is ranked outside of the top 50 in the world. She’s been on fire in the Open thus far, capped off by her dismantling the very capable Elise Mertens 6–1, 6–0 to reach the semis; she’s a two-time Grand Slam winner and a former world number one who’s eminently familiar with the sport’s big stages. And she’s on a roll.
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The catch in an Open seemingly filled with catches? While Osaka seems to have steadied her nerves lately, she did seem prone to odd lapses of confidence and concentration a while back. A resurgence of that wobbliness amid the Breast Cancer Awareness In October We Wear Pink Walk Gift Shirt in other words I will buy this sheer onslaught of Brady’s power could spell another upset. But Osaka, who has used each match at the Open to highlight racial injustice by wearing a different mask with the name of a Black person killed at the hands of police (so far her masks have honored Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain), has two more masks still in her bag. Look for her to play for a second Open title (she ran roughshod over Serena in that legendarily controversial final here in 2018) on Saturday.