For those who thought that Naomi Osaka’s quirky run to the Indian Wells final was a fluke, her run here should go a long way to dispel that. If Osaka was overcome with emotion when she reached the quarter-final, she was all business and clinical against an ailing Lesia Tsurenko.
Tsurenko admitted that she had woken up feeling ill but could not withdraw from a Slam quarter-final but was left shell-shocked as Osaka leapt out to a 3-0 lead, and even getting on the board was not enough to arrest the onslaught of heavy hitting as the first set shot by.
Osaka went on a six-game winning streak to hold a 4-0 lead in the second set before Tsurenko managed to get another single hold, and even though in the next game the Ukrainian finally had some break point looks on the Osaka serve, she could not convert from 40-0 up before losing her serve for the last time.
Osaka had been in tears after winning her quarter-final and admitted that it was back to business this time around.
She said, in her press conference: “I think it’s because for me, like, quarters was sort of my mental goal, like every time I played a Grand Slam. And then after I went into the quarters, I kind of want to keep going, so I feel like I have to be focused again and, like, keep trying really hard.”
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Madison Keys  def. Carla Suárez Navarro 
Also proving that her first Slam final was no fluke, Madison Keys booked her spot in a second straight US Open semi-final after easing past Carla Suárez Navarro. Despite having an obvious height advantage, and a powerful, hard-hitting game.
Their past encounters have been tough three-setters, and a smattering of break point chances for both with no conversions made for a tight first set, with just a single break at the end for Keys making the difference.
It was just one break that made the difference in a competitive second set, as Keys now advances to face Osaka in the semi-final. Much like Osaka, Keys has been known to let the emotions of the occasion overwhelm her but reaching this stage two years in a row seems to indicate she has turned a corner.
Keys said, after the match: “I think I’ve gotten a lot better managing my emotions once it gets to this part and knowing that everything is going to be probably more amped up, and not shying away from those but just really being honest about it and talking about it.
“Just embracing the moment. Just trying to remind myself to actually have fun and enjoy the experience.
“I feel like last year a lot of my matches were kind of emotional roller coasters, and this year I feel like I have been much more solid mentally, and in tougher times keeping my cool a little bit better and not having to have the big emotional swing to kind of try to get back into matches.”
The semi-finals will be played on Thursday night from 7pm (Midnight Friday, BST).
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