Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Is Naomi Osaka ready for a Grand Slam title?

Madison Keys Madison Keys lost the US Open final in 2017 to compatriot Sloane Stephens
Domingo Copeland | 07 September, 2018, 04:43

The 14th-seeded American used her big-strike game built on serves and forehands to overpower No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday night. She's still in search of major title No. 1.

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.

So far, with two of the three matches on hard court, Keys has won six of their seven competed sets - all within the last two years - and the main issues have come on return in these historical match-ups, with Keys holding 83.3% of service games against Osaka previously.

"Well, in the mornings I don't play matches, I walk around and hear the lovely honking", Osaka said.

"Long, but not too long", the 13-time Grand Slam victor added.

Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka made history at the US Open on Wednesday, September 5, when they became the first Japanese man and woman to reach the semifinals at the same Grand Slam. "I'm never satisfied", she admitted.

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"I didn't celebrate [after winning] because the other time I cried a little bit and people made fun of me so I thought I'd go straight to the net". "I think this was really important part of the game".

"Today was not my day, obviously", Tsurenko said. In her third-round match, she was even quicker, dominating Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-0, 6-0, in 50 minutes.

Tsurenko laboured 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.

Suarez Navarro enjoyed a fine run in NY, where she upstaged sixth seed Caroline Garcia and ended Maria Sharapova's impeccable record under the lights in the Big Apple, however, the 30th seed could not match Keys. Osaka said she has tried to keep this tournament business-like as she navigates her way through the draw, but her triumph in NY is not just about advancing her career.

Meanwhile, Nishikori's victory over Marin Cilic was seen as sweet revenge for the 2014 US Open final, which ended in victory for the giant Croat.

Osaka, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father, said she enjoyed playing in the blistering heat of NY which has been such a talking point of the tournament. "I wasn't nervous before the match, but as soon as I got into the court, it was different".

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