Reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka says she’s hopeful of a strong run in Melbourne after booking her place in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.
Osaka is competing in the tournament as a warm-up for her defense of her Australian Open crown, and showed plenty of fight as she battled past Dutch player Kiki Bertens 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the final four of the tournament on Friday.
Osaka’s victory was her third consecutive match to go all three sets as she defeated Bertens after a two-hour match to reach the semis in Brisbane for the second successive year.
As well as a berth in the semis, Osaka’s victory will also see her improve her WTA rankings, with the win set to see the 22-year-old pass former world No. 1 Simona Halep to No. 3 ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of 2020.
And after her battling displays in Brisbane, Osaka said she hopes her performances – and her 14-match win streak – will stand her in good stead as she looks to finish her warm-up tournament on a high, then move on to Melbourne to defend her title at the Rod Laver Arena later this month.
“I tried to defend in my U.S. Open title and that didn’t work out so well, so I hope it’s better for me this time around!” she said post-match.
Osaka will play the winner of the quarter-final match between Aliston Riske and Karolina Pliskova in this weekend’s semi-finals.