Naomi Osaka wins the 19th consecutive match for a spot in the Australian Open semifinals


MELBOURNE, Australia – For Naomi Osaka, the tournament excitement at the Australian Open spoiled the surprise: She could face Serena Williams next.

Osaka beat Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals, and will face the winner of the quarter-final match between Williams and second-seeded Simona Halep.

“Normally, I never look at my painting,” Osaka said. “But everyone has told me about my draw here, so I had no choice but to find out who my next opponent is. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”

Third seeded, Osaka hit 122 mph on serve against Hsieh. He hit seven aces, lost just two points on his first serve and never broke on the way to his 19th consecutive win.

Osaka also played excellent defense, as in the final game, when he ran forward to chase a drop shot, launching a cross backhand for a winner.

“I couldn’t afford to be lazy with my footwork,” Osaka said with a smile. “I didn’t want to play three sets.”

At 35, Hsieh was the oldest woman to make her Grand Slam quarter-final debut in the professional era. But Osaka was unfazed by Hsieh’s flat and deceptive two-handed punches from both sides, hitting forehand winners on both corners.

Hsieh said that Osaka is a threat to win the championship.

“She can always go all the way,” Hsieh said. “She just needs to play her game and stay calm. She is a great player. ”

Osaka’s winning streak includes a US Open title in September for its third Grand Slam championship. The streak also includes his fourth-round win last week, when he saved two match points and swept the final four games to beat Garbine Muguruza.

“It reassures me a bit knowing that my back was strongly against the wall,” Osaka said.

Osaka is 4-0 in the Grand Slam quarterfinals, including a victory en route to the Australian Open title in 2019. Against Williams, their record is 2-1, but they have not met since 2019.

“This is Serena, ‘Osaka said.” I feel really intimidated when I see her on the other side of the court. “

In women’s doubles action, the young American team’s extended streak of Coco Gauff and Caty McNally ended in the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to the fourth-seeded team of Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands. and the American Nicole Melichar.

Gauff and McNally held a 4-1 lead in the first set before a series of unforced errors allowed Schuurs and Melichar to react. The winners took a 3-1 lead in the second set after a break in service and closed the match quickly.

The American pair had beaten two seeded teams in previous matches.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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