NEW YORK: Naomi Osaka’s sharp serving and superior return game helped her past American Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4 and into the semi-finals of the US Open on Tuesday as the Japanese continues her quest for a second title at Flushing Meadows.
Osaka, who was 0-3 lifetime against Rogers coming into the match, broke at love to take a 5-3 lead in the first set where Rogers hit 16 unforced errors to Osaka’s five and held serve to claim the set.
The fourth seeded Osaka broke again early in the second set for a 2-1 lead and sealed the win when Rogers dumped a forehand into the net on match point for her 28th unforced error.
“Honestly, I felt like she had the upper hand because I’d never beaten her and those memories are stuck in my head,” said the 22-year-old Osaka, who last faced Rogers in 2017.
“So, yeah, I consider this a little bit of revenge.”
Osaka once again had tape wrapped around her left thigh but said it was just as a precaution.
Despite the loss Rogers will hold her head high after the 27-year-old saved four match points to defeat Petra Kvitova to reach her first US Open quarter-final.
Next up for Osaka is in-form American Jennifer Brady, who beat Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in straight sets earlier in the day.
“I think she’s a really amazing player, she has the variety that I wish I had so I’m a bit jealous,” Osaka said.
“But, yeah, she’s super nice and I think it’s going to be a really tough match and I think we’re both going to try our best.”
Osaka entered the court wearing a black mask with George Floyd’s name on it as part of her ongoing protest against racial injustice.
Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis in May after an officer pinned him to the ground by his throat.