Say goodbye to Naomi Osaka’s 23-match win streak. The Japanese star finally lost Wednesday in Miami and did so in convincing fashion, getting blown out by Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
“I would say that it’s for sure one of the biggest ones,” Sakkari said after the 69-minute match. “I think also beating Serena was equally big, but, you know, beating her after 23 matches in a row without losing, it was a big thing, of course. Yeah, for sure it’s one of the biggest wins of my career.”
Osaka, who was playing in her first Miami quarter, finished with just 5 winners to 33 unforced. After a one-way first set, Osaka got showed signs of life early in the second jumping out 3-0. But the Greek star came back winning 6 of the next 7 games to take it.
“Just had a little bit of time in the changeover and thought about, focused on the strategy again,” Sakkari said of her second set comeback. “I think I lost that a little bit in the beginning of the second set. So focusing on my strategy was the key.
“I knew that if I can break her back, then, you know, I can serve clever and I can serve the right way to just come back and win the second set, as well.”
Osaka hadn’t lost in over a year. And the defeat ends any chance she had of reclaiming No. 1 this week.
“I knew that going into the match, we have played a couple of times, and I knew she’s like a really big fighter, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Osaka said.
“I felt like I haven’t been playing well this whole tournament, like I couldn’t find a groove, so mentally it’s really hard for me to, I don’t know, like play against really high-quality players with what I feel is low-quality tennis.”
Sakkari will meet comeback Canadian Bianca Andreescu who held off an in-form Sara Sorribes Tormo in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
I’m super proud with how I handled it tonight because it wasn’t easy. She’s a really tough player. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing more of her.”
The Spaniard had come in having won her last eight matches. But Andreescu came from double-break down in the first, then hung on in the finale.
“I never played her before. It’s hard to really tell how a player plays online rather than you actually playing them. So I think I got caught offguard just a little bit,” Andreescu said. “I thought her ball would be a bit more heavy and deep, but like I said, you really have to generate your own power. I feel like I was going for too much at the start, but then I figured it out and I changed my game plan basically.”
In the semifinals Thursday night, she will get her first look at Sakkari.
“I watched a little bit of that match,” Andreescu said of Sakkari’s win. “She played really well. Like, she was just dominating right from the start. Naomi wasn’t quite there.
“She’s coming off a great win. I’m coming off a pretty great win too. But I’m sure she’s very confident, and I have watched her play many, many times so I kind of know what to expect, but obviously it’s different once I step out there. I’m just gonna have to adjust with what I know now and what I am going to see on the court. But I know it’s going to be a battle, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
In the early semi, Ash Barty continues her title defense against Elina Svitolina.
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