Osaka eases into Tokyo semis

Saturday, 22 September 2018 01:11 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

TOKYO (Reuters): US Open champion Naomi Osaka continued to flourish in front of her home crowd at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo as she comfortably dispatched Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-4 on Friday to reach the semi-finals.

The 20-year-old is competing at her first event since winning her debut Grand Slam earlier this month and looks to have brought her New York form home with her as she has yet to drop a set so far in Tokyo.

Osaka proved too powerful for Strycova from the off, storming into a 4-1 lead in the first set with a dominant service game, while her forehand was too strong for the world number 25 to handle. Despite some crafty defence from Strycova to stay in the contest, the result never appeared in doubt as Osaka won easily in one hour and 35 minutes.

The Czech beat Osaka when the two met three years ago in Tokyo, but Japan’s first-ever Grand Slam winner is a very different proposition now and Friday’s win was her ninth in a row.

Osaka will face Italian Camila Giorgi in the semis on Saturday after Victoria Azarenka was forced to retire, injured in their quarter-final contest with Giorgi leading 5-3 in the first set.

Osaka and Giorgi have never faced each other before in WTA competition.