Osaka steps on the gas

Naomi Osaka beat Taiwanese Su-Wei Hsieh more comfortably than expected and is in the top four of a Grand Slam for the fourth time.


Naomi Osaka, who suffered a lot to beat Garbiñe Muguruza in the round of 16 at the Australian Open after saving two match points and subtracting to stay in it, crushed the always disturbing Su-Wei Hsieh in the quarterfinals. The 23-year-old Japanese beat the 35-year-old Taiwanese 6-2 in 66 minutes, the oldest to reach the fifth round of a Grand Slam in the Open Era for the first time (since 1968). Osaka took a break to face a semifinal in which he will have to face Serena Williams or Simona Halep. All three times he reached this heights in majors, he lifted the trophy.

There was not much history in a match that was expected more by the precedents, tough matches in three sets, like the one they played precisely in Melbourne in the third round two years ago. It was not like that because Hsieh did not find the key to overflow a very safe and well-planted Osaka on the track, which did not give options to the service (92% of points won with firsts) or to the rest (42%). The Asian had just three break options that she did not take advantage of and lost her serve four times, two in each set.

"I did not expect this score," said Naomi, who smiled even during the game because of the calm and low pressure with which she played it against an opponent who is usually uncomfortable due to her unusual style of play (she hits all two-handed shots ) and his seemingly cool and carefree way of approaching matches. This time he did notice the nerves of playing a game of such significance for the first time.

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