MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka advanced Tuesday to a potential semifinal showdown against Serena Williams at the Australian Open.
Osaka earned her 19th victory in a row by overpowering Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2, and will next meet the winner of the quarterfinal match Tuesday night between Williams and No. 2-seeded Simona Halep.
“Normally I never look at my draw,” Osaka said. “But everyone has told me about my draw here, so I kind of had no choice but to know who my next opponent is. It’s definitely going to be really fun.”
Seeded third, Osaka reached 122 mph (196 kph) on her serve against Hsieh. She hit seven aces, lost only two points on her first serve and was never broken.
Osaka also played excellent defense, such as in the final game, when she raced forward to chase down a drop shot, flicking a backhand cross-court for a winner.
At 35, Hsieh was the oldest woman to make her Grand Slam quarterfinal debut in the professional era. But Osaka wasn’t fazed by Hsieh’s flat, deceptive two-handed strokes from both sides, pounding forehand winners into both corners.
Hsieh said Osaka is a threat to win the championship.
“She always can go all the way,” Hsieh said. “She just needs to play her game and stay calm. She’s a great player.”
Osaka’s winning streak includes a U.S. Open title in September for her third Grand Slam championship. The streak also includes her fourth-round win last week, when she saved two match points and swept the final four games to overtake Garbiñe Muguruza.
“It makes me a bit more calm, knowing that my back was severely against the wall,” Osaka said.
Osaka is 4-0 in Grand Slam quarterfinals, including a victory en route to the Australian Open title in 2019.
Two quarterfinal matches were on the men’s schedule: eight-time champion Novak Djokovic against Alexander Zverev, and Grigor Dimitrov versus 114th-ranked qualifier Aslan Karatsev.
Courtesy: AP News