Friday, 23 August, 2019

All over for Sevastova as Osaka reaches Aussie Open quarter-finals

Romania's Simona Halep who is returning from a herniated disc has limped through her first two matches at Melbourne Park Romania's Simona Halep who is returning from a herniated disc has limped through her first two matches at Melbourne Park More
Andrew Wong | 21 January, 2019, 14:54

"I wasn't really sure what to do at a certain point, but I just tried to stick in there", Osaka said.

Svitolina upstaged Keys, whom she defeated for the first time in her career, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 in one hour and 40 minutes of play.

The sixth-seeded Ukrainian, who won the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore, breezed through the first set with two break of serve before Keys roared back in the second, taking a 5-0 lead before converting her second set point to level the match. "I was thinking I've been in this position before, and I was watching all these kids winning - seeing Tsitsipas beat Federer - so I decided I wanted to do well too".

Despite being the reigning US Open champion and one of the world's best players, Osaka has admitted she hasn't really felt the love from the Melbourne public. But the American's resolve crumbled when Svitolina held off five break points then gained an advantage in the next game.

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Osaka said she was no stranger to being made to work for a win at this year's tournament, having survived a scare against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei in the third round on Saturday.

"It was very hard because the sun was burning my eyes when I was tossing the ball". On day six at Melbourne Park, the 23-time Grand Slam victor crushed Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-1 before consoling her at the net as she burst into tears.

But top seed Halep is a much tougher assignment at a tournament blown wide open with the ousting of defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and second seed Angelique Kerber.

"I think just the fact that I didn't give up [is the thing I am most happy about]".

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"Like at Brisbane (International), I played the same sort of match, like I lost the first set and I managed to win again. Honestly, I feel like people don't look at other people when they're walking around", she added.

Serena will now meet Czech Karolina Pliskova, who pummelled Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-1 earlier today.

He will face Croat Borna Coric or Frenchman Lucas Pouille next.

"I think that in the third set we obviously had a really long game at 1-All, and that was where all the momentum swung", Keys said.

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Whoever gets through that encounter will have a quarter-final against Japan's eighth seed Kei Nishikori or Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

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