February 25, 2021

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Osaka advances to semis as Karatsev makes history

3 min read

Naomi Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open champion, has advanced to the semifinal of the 2021 edition with a straight two sets victory over Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2 6-2, in just over an hour on the Rod Laver Arena court.

Osaka, 23, broke the unpredictable Hsieh three times in the opening set and dictated play against the 35-year-old, who made the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Osaka served off seven aces as Hsieh made 23 unforced errors to hand the Japanese world No.2 a trip to the semis and at least a cheque of $850,000.

Speaking after the match, the two-time Grand Slam winner said the score did not totally paint an accurate picture of the battle she had to weather through. “I am definitely really happy with how I played today. Every time I play her, it’s always such a battle. Even though the score was like this, it was actually another battle for me. She’s able to hit winners off both sides. You never know when she’s about to go for it.”

Osaka will face either Serena Williams or Simona Halep in the semis.

Meanwhile, history was made in the men’s draw as 27-year-old Russian, Aslan Karatsev beat Grigor Dimitrov 2-6 6-4 6-1 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena in two hours and 32 minutes.

The No. 114th-ranked Russian is a qualifier for the Australian Open and is making the best of his chance as he rode on the back of a visibly injured Dimitrov to snag a semi-final berth-history making in tennis’ open era, which began in 1968.

Karatsev beat No. 20 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round; No.8 seed Diego Schwartzman in the third round; No. 78 ranked Egor Gerasimov in the second round and world No. 96 Gianluca Mager, in the first round.

His prize for advancing this far includes at least $850,000 and a date with the winner of the second quarterfinal match between world No.1 and defending champion, Novak Djokovic and the fifth seed Alexander Zverev.

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