Sports

Djokovic, Nishikori, Osaka, Keys in US Open semifinals

New York, Sep 6 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/6/2018 11:41:14 AM IST

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic ended John Millman’s fairy-tale US Open run on Wednesday, beating the 55th-ranked Australian in straight sets to book a semi-final clash with Kei Nishikori.

The Serb, who ended a 54-week title drought with his 13th grand slam title at Wimbledon, defeated the tenacious Aussie 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his 11th US Open semi-final in his last 11 appearances.

He lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2015. Nishikori, the 21st seed, advanced with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic - the man who beat him in the 2014 final. Millman, who stunned five-time champion Roger Federer in the fourth round, kept Djokovic running - and was kept running himself - for two hours 49 minutes on another hot, humid night on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Japan’s Nishikori, who missed last year’s US Open after a season-ending wrist injury, joined compatriot Naomi Osaka in reaching the semis - the first time that a Japanese man and woman have reached the last four in the same grand slam. Nishikori stunned then-world No 1 Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2014 to become the first man from an Asian country to reach the championship match of a major. But he hasn’t returned to a grand slam final since, falling in the US Open semis in 2016.

Against Cilic he labored for 4 hours and 8 minutes.

Osaka to meet Keys 

Naomi Osaka and Madison Keys will meet in the semi-final of the US Open after progressing on Wednesday night.

Osaka reached her maiden Grand Slam semi-final with an emphatic 6-1 6-1 victory against Ukraine’s unseeded Lesia Tsurenko.

Then Keys beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-3 to reach her second consecutive semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who becomes the first Japanese woman to advance to the last four of a major since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996, produced a ruthless display to defeat the world No 36 in 57 minutes. Both players came into the match on the back of gruelling three-set contests but Osaka began confidently in their first tour-level meeting and never looked likely to lose against her fatigued opponent on another day of stifling heat in New York.

The world No 19 made a flying start in her first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium this year breaking Tsurenko, who suffered with the heat during her come-from-behind victory against Marketa Vondrousova in the fourth round, in the second game before remaining on the front foot to win the first set in 26 minutes.

As with the opener, Osaka broke at the start of the second set, this time coming from 0-40 down, and even when her serve was threatened when leading 4-1 she saved three break points on her way to closing out victory in mature fashion.

Last year’s finalist Keys said of Osaka: “I think we play similarly.

“I think power, obviously a big serve. I think I probably have a little bit more spin on the ball, but I think she takes time away really well.

“I don’t think we will have tons of long rallies.”

 

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