Naomi Osaka beats Elina Svitolina to reach Australian Open semi-final

Press Association Sport 07:41 23/01/2019
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Naomi Osaka extended her winning grand slam run to 12 matches with a dominant victory over Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The US Open champion has taken the increase in expectation and attention in her stride and needed only an hour and 12 minutes to wrap up a 6-4 6-1 win against the sixth seed, who struggled with a neck problem.

Osaka could now face a rematch of the controversial New York final against Serena Williams, who takes on Karolina Pliskova in the second semi-final.

Speaking on court, the 21-year-old said: “I tried to be consistent, or as consistent as I can. She’s a really great player. It’s kind of unfortunate that she got injured. Playing against her even if she was injured was still really tough.

“I just had one goal, which was to try as hard as I can and not get angry, I think I did it really well so I’m very happy.”

Osaka had survived three-set clashes with tricky duo Hsieh Su-wei and Anastasija Sevastova in the last two rounds and looked much more comfortable against the more conventional game of Svitolina.

The Ukrainian, looking to move beyond the last eight at a slam for the first time at the fourth attempt, began 2019 with the confidence from winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals last October.

Svitolina broke Osaka when she served for the opening set at 5-3 but her second serve was taking a pounding and, although Osaka missed wildly on three set points, she converted her fourth.

The fourth seed’s record in matches after winning the first set is astonishing – she has now won 58 straight dating back to 2016 – so Svitolina was clearly up against it.

And the Ukrainian simply could not find a foothold in the match. She took a medical time-out at 0-3 in the second set to have treatment to her neck and shoulder, an issue that had bothered her in the third round against Zhang Shuai, but there was no way back.

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