New York: Japan’s World No. 19, Naomi Osaka on Wednesday sealed her semi-final spot in the women’s singles event of the ongoing US Open as she rolled over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine in straight sets within an hour.
20-year-old Osaka, who played her first quarter-final match in a Grand Slam, exuded a veteran’s confidence on her way to registering a 6-1, 6-1 victory in 57 minutes, becoming the first Japanese woman to reach the semi-final of a Grand Slam in 22 years.
Kimiko Date was the last to achieve that feat, reaching the semi-finals of the 1996 edition of the Wimbledon, where she was beaten by eventual winner Steffi Graf.
Osaka got off to a brilliant start in the first set, winning two break points in the first six games to establish a 5-1 lead. Having conceded just 14 points, Osaka wrapped up the first set with an ace.
The unseeded Ukrainian, who was also playing her first Grand Slam quarter-final, never looked like threatening Osaka’s authority on the court, as the latter emphasised her superiority on the day by racing to a 4-0 lead in the second game.
Tsurenko seemed drained from the three-set thriller against Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova on a hot and humid Monday and eventually lost the second set 1-6.
Osaka will play the winner between Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro and USA’s Madison Keys, which will be played on Wednesday (local time).
Serbian ace and five-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic will face Australia’s John Millman later tonight to vie for the last semi-final berth.