‘Don’t get angry’: Osaka’s only mission

Naomi Osaka celebrates. Picture: Michael Klein
Naomi Osaka celebrates. Picture: Michael Klein

NAOMI Osaka's remarkable grand slam roll has the Japanese star hurtling towards a US Open final rematch with Serena Williams.

Too accomplished for injured Elina Svitolina in a 6-4 6-1 demolition, Osaka kept alive hopes of snatching the world No 1 ranking from Simona Halep.

And the baseliner extended her grand slam winning streak to 12 matches.

The biggest threat Osaka faced on Rod Laver Arena was when she was chased by a bee just before wrapping up the match, with Svitolina off her game.

Osaka, 21, said she tried to work on keeping her focus after been taken to three sets in her last two matches.

"For me today I just had one goal and that was to try as hard as I can get and not get angry," Osaka said.

"I didn't do that well in the last two rounds so that was my only goal and I think I did it well so I'm really happy with the way I played.

"She is a really great player and it is kind of unfortunate that she got injured but playing against her even when she was injured was still really tough."

Naomi Osaka is through to the semi-finals.
Naomi Osaka is through to the semi-finals.

The first Japanese player to reach the last four at Melbourne Park since Kimiko Date in 1994, Osaka has not lost at the highest level since falling to Venus Williams in the third round of Wimbledon in June.

Osaka blasted 31 winners to Svitolina's 11 and, despite serving glitches in the first set, was almost totally in control.

"For me, my goal was to try as hard as I can and not get angry," she said.

"It's unfortunate that she (Svitolina) got injured. Playing against her, even when she was injured was still really tough."

But the Ukrainian struggled with her service game, only managing to get 58 per cent of her first serves in.

The first set went on serve before Osaka broke Svitolina to take a 4-2 lead only to hand the break straight back through unforced errors.

The pair again traded breaks before Osaka again got on top of her opponent and sealed the set on her fourth set point.

Naomi Osaka serves against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. Picture: AFP
Naomi Osaka serves against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. Picture: AFP

Osaka won six straight games to take a 5-0 lead before Svitolina managed to hold serve, but it only temporarily delayed the inevitable.

Svitolina's exit continued her modest record in grand slams, with the 24-year-old yet to reach a semi-final at a major.

Afterwards, she said there was a simple explanation for the defeat.

"Today was not about luck," she said.

"She played good tennis. I couldn't produce 100 per cent the game I wanted. In then end she played better.

"I have felt pain since the beginning of the tournament and today was worse than I expected.

"It is normal to have some tension, but I couldn't handle it today (neck and shoulder).

News Corp Australia


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