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Wednesday
October 2020
11:43 PM IST
News Headlines
AC Milan's perfect start ends with 3-3 draw with Roma        Feels surreal, says Varun Chakravarthy on his surprise India call-up        Rohit unlikely as Mumbai and RCB aim to secure play-off berth        Vistara to start flights to Bangladesh from Nov 5 under air bubble pact        Sharing best practices, knowledge among SCO members to help startups: Goyal        Taiwan says new arms purchases to boost credible defence        President Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden by 5 points in Texas: Poll        Pak to strengthen ties with Afghanistan: PM Imran        Loan moratorium: Lenders to credit interest on interest' to borrowers by Nov 5, Centre tells SC        Man attacks TV actress with knife in Mumbai        Polls open in first phase of Bihar elections        After over 3 months, less than 40k COVID cases reported in single day across country: Govt data        India, US ink defence pact; Pompeo says US stands with India, mentions killing of Indian soldiers        'Dynastic corruption' growing challenge for the country: PM Narendra Modi        Former Union Min Dilip Ray gets three-yr jail in coal scam case        Bihar assembly election Campaign ends for first phase        Kerala CM writes to counterparts in Maha, TN        COVID 19: Kerala registers 7,101 recoveries, 20 deaths        Govt announces financial package for rejuvenation of KSRTC        COVID-19 vaccination to begin in Venezuela Around April - President Maduro        
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Sports News
Naomi Osaka comes back, beats Azarenka for 2nd US Open title
 
New York: After one errant forehand in the first set of the US Open final, Naomi Osaka looked at her coach in the mostly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium stands with palms up, as if to say, "What the heck is happening?" In response to another wayward forehand against Victoria Azarenka seconds later, Osaka chucked her racket. It spun a bit and rattled against the court. Surprisingly off-kilter in the early going Saturday, Osaka kept missing shots and digging herself a deficit. Until, suddenly, she lifted her game, and Azarenka couldn''t sustain her start. By the end, Osaka pulled away to a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory for her second US Open championship and third Grand Slam title overall.

"For me, I just thought," said Osaka, who trailed by a set and a break, "it would be very embarrassing to lose this in an under an hour." This, then, is what she told herself with a white towel draped over her head at a changeover when things looked bleakest: "I just have to try as hard as I can and stop having a really bad attitude." It worked. A quarter-century had passed since a woman who lost the first set of a US Open final wound up winning: In 1994, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario did it against Steffi Graf. "I wasn''t really thinking about winning. I was just thinking about competing," Osaka said.

"Somehow, I ended up with the trophy." Osaka is a 22-year-old who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father; the family moved to the US when she was 3. Osaka, now based in California, arrived for the US Open intent on claiming the championship, to be sure, but with another goal in mind, as well: continuing to be a voice for change by calling attention to racial injustice. She showed up for Saturday''s match wearing a mask with the name of Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old boy killed by police in Ohio in 2014. That was the seventh mask she''d used during the tournament, after honoring other Black victims of violence: Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Philando Castile. "The point," Osaka explained, "is to make people start talking."

Last month, Osaka refused to compete after the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, in Wisconsin — she said she would withdraw from her semifinal at the Western & Southern Open, although decided to play after the tournament took a full day off in solidarity. Osaka and her coach, Wim Fissette — who used to work with Azarenka — have said they think the off-court activism has helped her energy and mindset in matches. "I wanted," Osaka said, "more people to (see) more names." So perhaps it was no coincidence that this win over Azarenka, a 31-year-old from Belarus also seeking a third Grand Slam title but first in 7½ years, made Osaka 11-0 since tennis resumed after its hiatus because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Osaka added to her triumphs at the 2018 US Open — earned with a brilliant performance in a memorably chaotic and controversial final against Serena Williams — and 2019 Australian Open. Azarenka carried an 11-match winning streak of her own into Saturday, including a stirring three-set victory over Williams in the semifinals, stopping the American''s bid for a 24th Grand Slam title. Azarenka won the 2012 and 2013 Australian Opens and lost to Williams in the US Open finals each of those years. "I thought the third time was the charm," Azarenka said, "but I guess I''ll have to try again." Even after Osaka surged ahead 4-1 in the third set, the outcome was unclear.

Azarenka drew to 4-3, then stood and stretched during the ensuing changeover. "Had a little bit of a energy dip," Azarenka said. Osaka regained control, then laid down on the court when the final was over. The 23,000-plus seats in the main arena at Flushing Meadows were not entirely unclaimed, just mostly so — while fans were not allowed to attend because of the coronavirus pandemic, dozens of people who worked at the tournament attended — and the cavernous place was not entirely silent, just mostly so. One of the lucky few in the house: Osaka''s boyfriend, rapper YBN Cordae. "I''m very grateful for the opportunity to play in front of millions of people watching on TV," Azarenka said.

"Unfortunately, they''re not here." Certainly no thunderous applause or the cacophony of yells that normally would reverberate over and over and over again through the course of a Grand Slam final, accompanying the players'' introductions or preceding the first point or after the greatest of shots. Instead, a polite smattering of claps from several hands marked such moments. Azarenka led early thanks to terrific returning and let-no-ball-by defense, stretching points until Osaka missed. And she repeatedly missed; the first set was over in a blink. Azarenka broke early in the second set, too, to lead 2-0. The question shifted from "Who will win?" to "Might this be the most lopsided US Open final?" Except Osaka made subtle changes that altered the match.

She stepped closer to the baseline, redirecting shots more immediately and forcefully. Azarenka began hitting the ball less stridently, making mistakes she avoided earlier.


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IPL 2020: Cricketers compete off the field with their ''BreakTheBeard'' looks
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KERALA NEWS
Kerala CM writes to counterparts in Maha, TN
 Thiruvananthapuram: In the backdrop of spiralling prices of onions and other vegetables in Kerala, C  
COVID 19: Kerala registers 7,101 recoveries, 20 deaths
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INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Taiwan says new arms purchases to boost credible defence
 Taipei, Oct 27 (AP) Taiwan said Tuesday that proposed US sales of missiles and other arms systems wi
President Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden by 5 points in Texas: Poll
Pak to strengthen ties with Afghanistan: PM Imran
COVID-19 vaccination to begin in Venezuela Around April - President Maduro
NATIONAL NEWS
Loan moratorium: Lenders to credit interest on interest' to borrowers by Nov 5, Centre tells SC
 New Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that lenders have been directed to
Man attacks TV actress with knife in Mumbai
Polls open in first phase of Bihar elections
Former Union Min Dilip Ray gets three-yr jail in coal scam case
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