Naomi Osaka reached her first Grand Slam semi-final yesterday with a dominant victory over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko at the US Open.
The 20-year-old dropped just two games winning 6-1 6-1 against her unseeded opponent in 58 minutes.
She becomes the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996.
“I was freaking out inside,” Osaka said. “My entire body was shaking, so I’m glad I was able to play well.”
The Japanese player also explained, during her on-court interview, why she did not celebrate after the winning point.
“The other time I cried a little bit (after the win over Aryna Sabalenka) and there was a lot of people making fun of me,” the Indian Wells champion said.
Both Osaka and Tsurenko were competing in their first Slam quarter-final but the Ukrainian failed to settle and looked physically drained on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Osaka, who is regarded as one of the best young players in the game, broke in Tsurenko’s first service game and powered to the first set in 26 minutes before racing into a 4-0 lead in the second set.
Tsurenko then held serve and brought up three break points in the following game but failed to convert and double-faulted twice in the final game to hand Osaka victory.
The Ukrainian said that poor health meant she was not in peak condition for the match.
“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.”
Osaka will play American Madison Keys or Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the last four.