Naomi Osaka wasted no time in disposing of Lesia Tsurenko to book her spot in the semi-finals of the US Open.
Tsurenko has been in menacing form at the US Open.
Her biggest scalp en route to the quarterfinals was none other than world number two, Caroline Wozniacki. She had also dropped just one set prior to Wednesday.
As such, the Ukrainian was expected to cause Osaka problems.
However, things never played out that way. The encounter lasted just 59 minutes (nothing short of a dream for any player at this stage of the tournament and with such intense heat beating down in New York).
Osaka deserves plenty of praise for putting Tsurenko under pressure from the get go. Tsurenko was quite simply not at the races though. She hit an astonishing 31 unforced errors in just 87 points.
Tsurenko pointed to poor health to explain her mediocre showing.
“I just woke up with a viral illness or whatever it is,” the 29-year-old said.
“I don’t know what happened, but my throat is not well. I’m not breathing well.”
This is the first time Osaka has made it to the semi-finals of a grand slam and she believes competing at the business end of big tournaments will still take some getting used to.
“I was freaking out inside,” Osaka said. “My entire body was shaking, so I’m glad I was able to play well.”
Osaka is now the first Japanese woman to reach a grand slam semi-final since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996.
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