Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Sport | By Matt Richards

Madison Keys vs Naomi Osaka: US Open semifinal preview and prediction

Madison Keys vs Naomi Osaka: US Open semifinal preview and prediction

"Yeah, always excited to play Novak because it's great challenge for me", said Nishikori about the possibility of facing Djokovic, should the sixth-seeded Serb beat Millman in the quarter-finals.

"I think she can, you know, win a title now, even (a) Grand Slam".

"Overall, he's just really nice and positive and bubbly and stuff", Osaka said.

American Madison Keys clinched her second consecutive U.S. Open semi-final berth on Wednesday, using her powerful serve and fiery forehand to get an edge on 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro and win 6-4 6-3.

Nishikori overcame a ferocious comeback from Marin Cilic to prevail in five sets 6-2, 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

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"I've seen her play a lot, " Williams said. Meaning until she wins another major title.

Japan's previous best was at Wimbledon in 1995, when both Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date lost in the quarter-finals. That year, she beat already five-time Grand Slam victor Martina Hingis - the unstoppable World No 1, for her title - and summarily also took doubles honours with her sister Venus, the pair's second Grand Slam title.

When Nishikori became the first Asian male to reach a Grand Slam singles final four years ago, hundreds of fans packed into a convention hall to cheer him on at a standing-room-only public viewing event in his hometown of Matsue. But I think [basically] she's more of a power player than I am.

In their most recent match, which came earlier this year in Paris, Keys started well before edging the second set to take a 6-1 7-6 win.

Osaka's first serve percentage was only 59 percent but she did not concede a point behind her first serve the entire first set and only surrendered seven points on serve over the match.

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"Unfortunately during this tournament I had many issues with my health, and today was not my day obviously".

It's women's semi-finals day at the US Open tonight, and back to preview the match-ups, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who bested Kvitova at Wimbledon, fared even worse and had to endure a humbling 0-6 0-6 loss. So far in this Open, she's held opponents scoreless in three sets, and she's dropped only one set thus far.

It was another hot afternoon Wednesday, with temperatures in the 30s C, but feeling much hotter due to the humidity.

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.

Keys had the chance to close out the set on Suarez Navarro's racquet at 5-4 and while she was denied at the first time of asking, she did not waste her second opportunity. "I didn't want to show this kind of game in front of this big crowd, but unfortunately I'm just not able to play now".

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"That's a really big step for me, " Williams said.

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