Osaka fires 13 aces en route to first Miami semifinal, faces Bencic

Osaka fires 13 aces en route to first Miami semifinal, faces Bencic

Former No.1 Naomi Osaka has advanced to her first Miami Open semifinal after defeating Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. With the win, Osaka became the second Japanese woman to reach the semifinals at the Miami Open since Kimiko Date Krumm did so in 1993 and 1995.

Osaka will facing reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic for a spot in her first WTA 1000 final since 2020.

Osaka has not lost a set en route to the Miami semifinals, having defeated Astra Sharma, Angelique Kerber, Alison Riske, and No.9 seed Collins. She has now won nine of her last 10 quarterfinals and carries a strong record in semifinals into her match against Bencic, who she has yet to beat in a tour-level match.

En route to the 60-minute win, Osaka fired 13 aces and rolled through her service games with ease. She did not face a break point in the match while breaking the Collins serve five times. The three-time major champion took advantage of a sub-par serving day from Collins, who called a medical timeout to address a neck issue after the first set. The American served at just 38% for the match and misfired on seven double faults. With Collins struggling to find her first serve, Osaka dialed in on her second-serve return, winning 68% of the time.

“I’m glad I was able to get through quickly. I focused on trying to hit a lot of really good returns,” Osaka said. “This is actually my first night match too, so I didn’t know what the conditions would be like.

Including her remarkable ace count, hit a total of 25 winners to just 3 unforced errors in the match. Despite her struggles on serve, Collins was solid off the ground, hitting 18 winners to 16 unforced errors. But on a near-perfect night for Osaka, Collins could not find a way through the 24-year-old’s high-octane performance.

Miami will be Osaka’s 18th career semifinal, with 16 having come on her favored hard courts. The two exceptions came on grass at 2018 Nottingham and clay at 2019 Stuttgart. Since the start of 2019, Osaka is 6-1 in contested semifinals.

Osaka will now turn her focus to Bencic, who has also looked in resurgent, dominating form over the fortnight. Seeded No.22 this week, Bencic has not lost a set and has lost just 17 games across her four matches. The 25-year-old Swiss has beaten Osaka in their three matches on the Hologic WTA Tour, with their last meeting coming at the 2019 US Open. Bencic won 7-5, 6-4 in the Round of 16.

Osaka hits 13 aces, powers past Collins to make 1st Miami SF

2022 Miami

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