Sports

Naomi Osaka, Serena advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Jan 21 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/21/2019 11:50:56 AM IST

US Open champion Naomi Osaka said she drew inspiration from Stefanos Tsitsipas’s shock win over Roger Federer after booking her maiden Australian Open quarter-final spot with a grinding 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova on Monday.

At a tournament featuring thrilling runs by a number of youthful players, 21-year-old Osaka hunkered down to watch 20-year-old Tsitsipas take on Federer on Sunday, and seeing the Greek topple the Swiss master gave her an additional spur.

Having beaten Serena Williams in straight sets during the US Open final, there was nothing particularly shocking about Osaka reaching the quarter-finals.

Yet she was grateful not to join a long list of first-time Grand Slam champions that have flamed out quickly at their next major.  “To reach the quarter-finals here, of course, I’m very happy,” she told reporters.

 “A little part of me is relieved, because I have never reached the quarter-finals of a tournament (at) a Grand Slam aside from New York. So, definitely this was one of my goals.”

Osaka was far from her best as she struggled to hold serve against U.S. Open semi-finalist Sevastova and berated herself regularly during the sun-bathed clash at Rod Laver Arena.

She held firm when it counted, however, breaking Sevastova in the seventh game of the decider before sealing the match with an imperious forehand down the line.

She will next meet sixth seed Elina Svitolina who beat Madison Keys 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 in one hour and 40 minutes of play. 

Meanwhile, Serena Williams has once again proven her credentials as one of the best on the planet, beating current world number one Simona Halep in three sets to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Williams prevailed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to earn a place in her 50th grand slam quarter final.

Williams steamrolled Halep in the opening set, with her power game not allowing the Romanian any time on her shots.

But in the second set Halep took control, moving the American around the court and frustrating the 23-time grand-slam winner with her stubborn resistance.

An arm wrestle of a third set saw momentum swing both ways, but it was Williams who eventually came up with the break in the seventh game, before holding serve twice to claim a satisfying win.

The 37-year-old American is trying to win an eighth championship at Melbourne Park and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall.

She next meets 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic who beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1 in an hour.

Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori reach quarter finals
World No 1 Novak Djokovic showed his class to overcome Russian Daniil Medvedev in four sets to reach his 10th Australian Open quarter-final.
The Serb remains on course for a record seventh title in Melbourne by seeing off 15th-seed Medvedev in a taxing encounter 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3.
After Stefanos Tsitsipas’ victory over Roger Federer on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, Medvedev was trying to strike another blow for the next generation against the old guard.
The fiery talent had talked up his chances ahead of the match, claiming Djokovic was not the same player as at his peak and there would be chances to beat him, but ultimately wore his young opponent down to win in three hours and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Kei Nishikori recovered from two sets down to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals with an epic win over Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (8-10) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (10-8).
It was Nishikori’s third five-setter of the tournament and the second time the never-say-die eighth seed had recovered from two sets behind.
His win over the 23rd seeded Spaniard took a marathon five hours and five minutes after an opening set that alone lasted 76 minutes.
 

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