Serena Williams had to wait 11 months but she got her revenge on Naomi Osaka for that crazy US Open final loss.
Serena rolled past the Osaka 6-3, 6-4 behind 31 winners to Osaka’s only 5. The 3-time Canadian champ broke Osaka three times while never facing a break point.
“I knew her game a little bit more, so that’s a little easier,” said Serena who was 0-4 in sets against Osaka before today. “I’m just overall a little bit better. You know, last year was — you know, it was a miraculous year for me, to be honest.
“I watch her a lot. I know what I need to do to hopefully try to get a win today, and it helped a little bit. I go into every match thinking I can do it, but, you know, sometimes that doesn’t happen.
“Overall, I just went in with a similar mindset of just coming out and doing the best that I can. It’s definitely good for me to keep the competition and, you know, to have players like her who can play really well.”
Osaka credited Serena for playing better.
“I honestly don’t really think there was ups and downs,” said Osaka. “I think in the first set we were kind of just serving it out, and then I was the one that — I don’t even think I dipped. I just think that I gave her too many second serve looks, and she just did what she does.
“I’m not really mad at this. Like, I don’t think it was up and down. I think I played pretty well. And she just played amazing, which that’s what she does.”
Serena was probably hoping for more revenge against Simona Halep for Wimbledon, but the Romanian retired after dropping the first set 6-4 to qualifier Marie Bouzkova due to a lower left leg injury.
“I felt [Achilles problems] since the first match here. Today I felt it more, so that’s why I decided to retire,” the defending champ Halep said. “Tomorrow, it would have been Serena and it is not easy.”
The young Czech raced out to a stunning 4-0 lead, out-hitting Halep. She then won the last two games before Halep pulled the plug.
Bouzkova now has three straight wins this week over Slam winners – Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko and Halep. She now looks ahead to Serena.
“Of course I’m disappointed that Simona had to retire today,” Bouzkova said. “I really enjoyed playing against her, even if it was just for one set. It was great experience, and now I’m looking forward to playing against Serena.
“We had real long rallies. So maybe it was just something that she wanted to prevent going to the second set and going, you know, fighting more. So she was just scared, you know, to get it worse.
“Serena has been my role model growing up. The way I play, you know, my technique, you know, is little bit — you know, the backhand is little bit similar to hers. I’m just going to try to enjoy as much as I can tomorrow and put up a fight.”
In the early quarterfinals, Sofia Kenin overcame an early deficit to deny Elina Svitolina 7-6(2), 6-4. The former champion Svitolina led 4-0 in the first before Kenin clawed back and eventually won 13 of the next 15 games to reach her biggest semifinal.
“[Svitolina] has good hands, plays really well,” said Kenin. “So I just needed to stay solid and just somehow find my rhythm because, obviously, I didn’t really have my good rhythm that I wanted to. And I felt like throughout the match it just got better.
“She has really great defense, so I knew I needed to be patient when I closed the points out,” she added. “It wasn’t easy, obviously. Like I said, I didn’t have really good rhythm, which she took away even though she gave me different balls. So I’m just really happy with the way I was able to be patient and close it out.”
Tomorrow, Kenin will collide with Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu. The 19-year-old who stunned the tennis world at Indian Wells, is healthy and winning again. Today, she won yet another 3-setter beating Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 2-6, 6-4.
“I’ve been practicing a lot on trying to figure out what to do in these kind of circumstances,” Andreescu said after her fourth 3-set win. “I’ve had many opportunities to try different things, and I finally found something that clicked for me. And when I step out on the court, I’m fearless. I show no mercy no matter who I play, and I think that’s showing a lot.”
Andreescu improved to 4-0 this year against Top 5 players, but next will be the 20-year-old Kenin who is ranked No. 29. They have split two meetings this year.
“I played her twice this year already, so I know what to expect from her,” Andreescu said. “She is a fighter. She gets to a lot of balls. So I’m going to go out there and just give my best performance.”
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