Asian trio in action at US Open on Saturday

Naomi Osaka, Kurumi Nara and Zhang Shuai will be eager to reach the fourth round of the US Open when they play on Saturday in New York.

Japanese starlet Naomi Osaka made the headlines when she knocked out defending champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets in round one at Flushing Meadows.

The 19-year-old proved her performance was not a flash in the pan in the second round, surviving a second set comeback from Denisa Allertova to eventually defeat the Czech.

Now, Osaka faces the experienced Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, a veteran of 17 years. Should Osaka defeat the world number 446, it would be her best result in a grand slam in her young career.

Meanwhile, fellow Japanese star Nara also produced an upset to reach the third round for just the third time in a grand slam. Nara knocked over eight seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets on Friday, her first win over the Russian in four attempts.

Next up for Nara is Lucie Safarova, a player she has faced once before back in 2015, where she only took two games off her. But Nara is now a vastly improved player and we expect a much closer encounter.

Finally, China’s Zhang Shuai faces a tough challenge against top seeds Karolina Pliskova. The rangy Czech has looked in sublime form on the hard courts of New York and will take comfort from the fact that she demolished Zhang 6-2, 6-0 in Doha earlier this year.

As such, it seems Zhang will have to play the match of her life to upset Pliskova, but stranger things have happened in the world of sport.