Japan embraces new tennis star Osaka

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TOKYO (AP) - Naomi Osaka's halting Japanese, her manners - she bowed and apologized after beating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final - and her simple charm have swelled national pride in Japan and eclipsed many questions about her mixed-race parentage in a famously insular country.

Two days after becoming the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam tennis title, Osaka is still filling the front pages of the country's three major daily newspapers and leads the discussions on talk shows.

The perspective from Japan on Monday: Osaka is being embraced as Japanese despite her mixed background. National pride - at least for now - is overriding questions of cultural identity and what it means to be Japanese.

Williams' dramatic behavior during a chaotic final on Saturday, a hot topic in the United States and around the world, has been largely brushed aside in Japan with the focus on Osaka's poise under pressure.

Japan's largest newspaper, Yomiuri, called Osaka a "new heroine that Japan is proud of" and characterized her appeal as "the contrast between her strength on the court and her innocent character off the court."

Yomiuri centered Osaka's photograph holding the U.S. Open trophy at the top of its Monday front page - as did the two other large dailies. In a headline inside the paper, Yomiuri called her an "Overnight Queen - Powerful and Stable."

The Asahi newspaper also called her the "New Queen," picking up on her mix of "strength and gentleness."

PRO FOOTBALL

DENVER (AP) - No longer welcome on an NFL sideline, Colin Kaepernick turned to social media to make his point on the NFL's opening Sunday.

In a tweet, Kaepernick gave a shout-out to "my brothers," Dolphins teammates Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, who were the only two players in the league to take a knee during the national anthem during Sunday's games.

"They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated," Kaepernick said in the tweet, which was accompanied by a picture of the Dolphins kneeling before their game. "Love is at the root of our resistance."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Alabama is No. 1 at being No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll.

The Crimson Tide made its 106th overall appearance at the top of the AP rankings, which started in 1936, passing Ohio State for the most by any school.

Alabama received a season-high 54 first-place votes from the media panel in the Top 25 released Sunday , strengthening its hold on No. 1 over No. 2 Clemson. The Tigers, who started the season with 18 first-place votes, are down to six after hanging on for 28-26 victory at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Ohio State held their spots and Oklahoma moved to No. 5, edging past No. 6 Wisconsin. The Badgers received a first-place vote.

PRO TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) - The U.S. Open final suddenly appeared to be slipping away from Novak Djokovic. He dropped three consecutive games. He was angered by a crowd roaring for his popular opponent, Juan Martin del Potro. He was, in short, out of sorts.

And then came Sunday's pivotal game, a 20-minute, 22-point epic. Three times, del Potro was a point from breaking and earning the right to serve to make it a set apiece. Three times, Djokovic steeled himself. Eventually, he seized that game - and del Potro's best chance to make a match of it.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Mets captain David Wright believes he will return to the New York Mets this season.

The 35-year-old third baseman participated in a simulated game before Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He faced Anthony Swarzak and Tim Peterson and hit an opposite-field homer to right-center off Peterson for his only hit.

Wright has not played in a major league game since May 27, 2016, because of neck, back and shoulder injuries that required surgery.

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