The semifinal-bound duo giving the US Open a Japanese flavor

Justin GreeneSep 07, 2018

In 2014, Nishikori, 28, became the first man representing an Asian country to reach a major final, while the 20-year-old Osaka has made noise of her own so far in Queens, advancing to the first semifinal of her career and becoming the first Japanese woman to get that far in a Grand Slam in 22 years.

To get to Saturday's championship match, the 20th seed will have to get past either United States 14th seed Madison Keys or Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

She plays a semifinal against No. 19 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who is appearing in the last four of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Meanwhile, Osaka won a Masters title at Indian Wells and with her strong run in NY, where she will next play 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys, she has picked up more of a following from the Japanese media - though she believes there's a different reason for that.

She will face No. 20 Naomi Osaka in Thursday's semifinals. Sevastova ousted defending champion Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals and has never faced Williams.

Osaka was an easy victor in her quarterfinal, eliminating unseeded Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-1, 6-1 in all of 57 minutes.

"That I think was probably the first time I had been on Ashe and had to learn how to use the crowd". In her third-round match, she was even quicker, dominating Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-0, 6-0, in 50 minutes.

Osaka had it much easier, continuing what's been a largely dominant run through the draw by winning in just 57 minutes, the third time in her five matches she didn't even have to play an hour.

Nishikori, the 21st seed, exacted revenge on No. 7 Marin Cilic for their 2014 Open final, knocking off the favored Croat, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4.

Osaka's feat was credited with lifting the share price of her racquet producer Yonex, which soared more than 10 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange while the headline Nikkei index sank.

"I cried a lot last time and there were lots of people making fun of me".

Tsurenko labored in the heat during her fourth-round victory over Marketa Vondrousova, having her temperature and blood checked during a medical timeout in the first set and almost quitting when she trailed early in the second.

She pushed some balls a few feet past the baseline, often failing to make Osaka do anything special to win a point and finishing with 31 unforced errors. We, as players, are grateful that we have the roof, because then the rain will not interrupt the matches and matches will go on, on two courts, which is great. "That's something that is a really good trait, and I'm really happy that my grandparents and my dad's side of the family is like that", Osaka said.

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