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US Open: Osaka makes history

06 September, 2018, 13:58 | Author: John Swanson
  • Is Naomi Osaka ready for a Grand Slam title

Meanwhile, Osaka won a Masters title at Indian Wells and with her strong run in NY, where she will next play 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys, she has picked up more of a following from the Japanese media - though she believes there's a different reason for that.

Kei Nishikori advanced to the U.S. Open semi-finals on Wednesday with a grinding 2-6 6-4 7-6 (5) 4-6-6-4 win over Marin Cilic, gaining a small measure of revenge on the man who crushed his Grand Slam dream in the 2014 final.

The only previous time the pair had played had been in the very different environs of the 2014 ITF $25,000 event in Irapuato, Mexico; back then, a 16-year-old Osaka had taken the match 6-4, 6-3.

He play either No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic or unseeded Australian John Millman in Friday's semi-final.

To get to Saturday's championship match, 20th seed Osaka will have to get past United States 14th seed Madison Keys who breezed past Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-3.

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Kei Nishikori stayed the course to beat Marin Cilic over five sets on Wednesday and make the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time.

Osaka defeated Lesia Tsurenko on Wednesday, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to her first career Grand Slam semifinal.

Initially, it looked like the match might follow a similar storyline from 2014 when seventh seeded Cilic took the opening set from a sluggish Nishikori.

Nishikori allowed his advantage to slip, missing a break point that would have given him a 5-1 lead and then being pegged back to 4-4.

The 20-year-old Osaka is the first Japanese woman to make the last-four of any Slam since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996 - a year before she was born.

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In the end she made it easy, swatting aside unseeded Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in under an hour, 6-1 6-1. Tsurenko had 31 unforced errors to Osaka's 11, and Osaka finished with 12 winners.

"Just like my entire body was shaking, so I'm really glad I was able to play well today", she said. So far in this Open, she's held opponents scoreless in three sets, and she's dropped only one set thus far.

Tsurenko didn't appear bothered by the conditions, but whether it was her health or just first-time jitters, she was off from the minute she stepped onto Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Keys reached the semifinals at her second consecutive U.S. Open after beating No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-3.

Key's compatriot Serena Williams will match up against Anastajia Sevastova in Thursday's other semi, with the six-time champion looking to match Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 major wins - just a year after giving birth to her first child.

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Suarez Navarro has now lost all seven Grand Slam quarter-finals she has contested.

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