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Update US Open 2020: Naomi Osaka beats Jennifer Brady to reach final
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[Image: naomi-osaka-final-1599792443.jpg]

It wasn’t until Naomi Osaka got a little help from a fortunate net-cord and an incorrect line call that she finally was able to get the better of Jennifer Brady in a U.S. Open semifinal filled with fast serves and strong forehands.

And now Osaka, still just 22, is one victory away from a third Grand Slam title.

Osaka finally surged ahead midway through the last set with the only service break she would get Thursday night -- and only she would need -- to beat Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3, returning to the final at Flushing Meadows two years after winning the championship.

The match was played with the retractable cover at Arthur Ashe Stadium shut, and rain loudly pelted the roof. That also created an indoor environment conducive to the clean hitting both women produced, the thud of racket-on-ball echoing off thousands of empty blue seats at a tournament closed to spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It means a lot for me. I kind of consider New York my second home,” said Osaka, who was born in Japan and moved to the United States as a child. “I kind of love the atmosphere, even though there's no people here. I feel like this court kind of suits me well.”

Suited both players just fine for most of the high-quality semifinal.

Osaka served at up to 120 mph; Brady reached 117 mph. And they pounded the ball once it was in play, too, particularly off the forehand side.

“I just felt like I was sticking it out. It felt like we were trading serves,” Osaka said. “I tried to adjust a little bit on her serve in the third set so maybe that helped.”

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