Osaka crushes Tsurenko in US Open quarters

Madison Keys

Kei Nishikori is headed to the US Open semifinal following a dramatic upset victory over Marin Cilic on Wednesday.

Cilic recovered to force a decider but Nishikori edged through 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 in four hours eight minutes.

20th seed Osaka used a lethal ground game and solid serving to overwhelm a worn out Tsurenko, who laboured in stifling conditions on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Kei Nishikori overcame seventh seed Marin Cilic in a gruelling five-set match to reach the US Open semi-finals.

He play either No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic or unseeded Australian John Millman in Friday's semi-final.

The match was a retread of their 2014 US Open final, but with happier results for the Japanese, who endured an injury-enforced absence for the last four months of 2017 after suffering a wrist injury in the run-up to the 2017 US Open.

Osaka, whose father is Haitian, is the first Japanese woman since the start of the Open era to reach the U.S. Open semifinals and the first to reach any Grand Slam semifinal since Kimiko Date did it in 1996 at Wimbledon.

The Japanese sputtered along until earning his first break chance at 2-4 in the second set and was able to convert to get back on serve.

Once she did, the 20-year-old Osaka found they had plenty in common.

She raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set and then 4-0 in the second against the shaky Tsurenko, who finished with more unforced errors than points in her first major quarterfinal.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who has looked comfortable on one of the sport's biggest stages, was tearful after her fourth-round clash but much less emotional after her latest win.

In the end she made it easy, swatting aside unseeded Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in under an hour, 6-1 6-1.

The Indian Wells victor dropped just two games in the entire match and had far too much for her opponent, who had stunned Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

She dropped only seven points on her serve playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium and needed just 57 minutes to rip through Tsurenko.

She will meet Madison Keys on Thursday, after the American dumped out Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the day's other women's quarterfinal, also in straight sets 6-4 6-3.

But she will face a stern test from Suarez Navarro, who is brimming with confidence after arriving in NY on the heels of a finals appearance at New Haven.

The speedy win over Tsurenko was the third time Osaka has wrapped up victory in under an hour in NY and should allow her to be fresh for Thursday's semi-final. This will be Keys' second consecutive semifinal appearance at the US Open.

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