Friday, 16 November, 2018

Serena storms into another US Open final after strategy shift

Japan's Naomi Osaka Japan's Naomi Osaka
Edward Snyder | 07 September, 2018, 04:42

Naomi Osaka steamrolled past Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1 in the US Open quarter-final on Wednesday to enter her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY.

Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori have created tennis history at the US Open.

The American will contest her 31st major final and her ninth in NY.

However, the 21st-ranked Nishikori took the third set in a tie-break, helped by a few costly double-faults from his opponent before the 10-minute heat rule came into play to the relief of Cilic.

But the ease with which she ran away with the match - winning 11 of the final 12 games and dropping just seven points in the second set - was startling.

"I was really nervous, I remember", said Nishikori of the Flushing final, the closest he's come to a major trophy. The flag next to her name displayed on monitors throughout Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is Japan's - her mother's homeland, the country of her birth and the country she represents in competition.

That semi-final win a year ago, over Coco Vandeweghe, was her solitary Grand Slam semi-final victory, with her other two appearances at this stage resulting in defeats - albeit both times as underdog, to varying degrees - against Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens. I don't know what happened, but my throat is not well.

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

"I think it's because of Kei", she said, holding her hands apart to show how much bigger Nishikori is in Japan, from where her family moved to NY when she was 3. "Especially after coming from injury, I think I'm enjoying this challenge".




Osaka won 59 points to just 28 for the unseeded Tsurenko, who knocked off No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

"It means a lot", she said.

"Unfortunately during this tournament, I had many issues with my health, and today was not my day obviously".

Tsurenko labored in the heat during her fourth-round victory over Marketa Vondrousova, having her temperature and blood checked during a medical timeout in the first set and almost quitting when she trailed early in the second.

It was another hot afternoon Wednesday, with temperatures in the 30s C, but feeling much hotter due to the humidity.

"I hate matches like this", Tsurenko said.

All of this comes 370 days after Williams gave birth to her first child on September 1, 2017, which forced her to miss almost the entire tennis season previous year.

"It could be another big battle just as at Wimbledon, i like to play always with the Number 1 of the world, doesn't matter the tournament or the conditions or the weather", said Del Potro.

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