Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady powered into the US Open semifinals on Tuesday.
Brady began the day on Arthur Ashe stadium and once again overpowered her opponent, Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-2 to reach her first career Slam semifinal.
The 25-year-old Brady needed looked to be in some pain from a heavily strapped upper right thigh, but otherwise was untroubled in her first win over the Kazakh.
“Coming into the match today, honestly I was feeling like I was going to poop my pants, but I was very nervous,” Brady said of playing her first Slam quarter. “I just tried to really stay calm and, like, keep it cool as a cucumber out there.
“In the second set I felt like I was continuing off the same thing. Just playing aggressive tennis, looking for my forehand, serving well, trying to be aggressive off returns when I could.”
Brady improves to 10-1 since the tour resumed last month. But next will be the former champion Naomi Osaka who’s found her form.
The fourth-seeded Osaka cruised past Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-4, serving six aces and losing just four points on her serve. Osaka made just 8 unforced errors to Rogers’s 28 during the 80-minute affair.
“I’m aware that I worked very hard to be in this position. I’m aware that the opponents that I play from now on are going to be very tough,” Osaka said. “For me, I think the last two Grand Slams, everything happened so fast, I wasn’t really in the moment. I’m just really happy to be in the semis, and hopefully I can keep going.”
Osaka and Brady have split two meetings but it’s been over two years since they’ve played, and a lot has changed.
“She’s obviously a great player,” Brady said of Osaka. “Very powerful, big serve, big shots off the baseline, one-two punch. You know, she’s a really good player.”
Added Osaka on the match, “I don’t feel like the favorite weirdly enough. Because there’s no fans, I don’t feel anything. I just feel like I’m going into a match with a really talented player, which is all of my previous matches anyway. For me, I remember watching her. I watched her match against Putintseva earlier today. I know she’s a big threat.”
On Wednesday, Serena Williams will try to join Osaka in the last four. The 6-time champion meets fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova.
Two-time Slam winner and 2-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka will battle Belgian Elise Mertens who’s back in the quarters here for a second straight year. Azarenka has won her last nine matches.
“She’s on a winning streak,” Mertens said of the contest. “It’s going to be very difficult to beat her. It’s going to be a great match.
“I’m trying to focus on myself, but also what I can do against her. I have to look a little bit at how she plays, what she does well, what she doesn’t do well maybe. She’s very experienced. She’s trying to find solutions in my game, I’ll try to find solutions on her.”
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