A nervy first set from both players had everyone on the edge of their seat in this affair, but Naomi Osaka calmed her nerves to knock out a hampered Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1 to advance to her first-ever Australian Open semifinal.
Shake It Off, Shake It Off
Osaka had the opening break opportunities of the set which were set up by her aggressive returns which put Svitolina in defensive positions. A challenge mid-rally went the four seed's way which gave her the break opportunity she would convert after forcing Svitolina to hit a ball wide.
Svitolina broke back after a couple of unforced errors from Osaka, but a missed sitter in her following service game helped put the world number four back in position to break after a cross-court backhand winner.
Osaka broke for 5-3 and moved within two points of the set after a couple of unforced errors by Svitolina. The Ukrainian kept the pressure on and broke Osaka but soon fell 0-40 behind serving to stay in the set. Svitolina held off the three break points as a frustrated Osaka reacted to not taking her chances. The world number four took the last two points though to take the opening set.
After that tight first set, Osaka took firm control of the set breaking the Svitolina serve immediately after a poor game from the Ukrainian. Three games down, Svitolina took a medical timeout to get her upper back and neck treated.
Down a couple of break points, Svitolina fought back to try and halt the four-game run of Osaka. It was to no avail though after a backhand unforced error extended the Japanese's lead to 4-0. From then on, Svitolina would claim her one service game before Osaka closed out the match with an ace and a forehand winner.
With the win, Osaka leads the live race for world number one and very much remains in contention to complete a US Open-Australian Open back-to-back.