NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Naomi Osaka enjoyed a comfortable 6-1 6-1 win over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko at the U.S. Open on Wednesday to become the first Japanese woman in 22 years to reach the semi-final stage of a Grand Slam.
The 20th-seeded Osaka, a rising talent who won her first career title in March at Indian Wells, used a lethal ground game and solid serving to overwhelm a fatigued Tsurenko, who laboured in stifling conditions on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Osaka, the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996, broke Tsurenko five times during a match that only lasted 57 minutes.
Tsurenko, the only unseeded woman to reach this stage of the tournament, appeared to be feeling the effects of her last-16 clash during which she struggled in the searing heat and at one point looked like she was about to collapse.
The Ukrainian had a small window to grab momentum but failed to cash in on her three break-point opportunities while trailing 4-1 in the second set and Osaka fought back before cruising through the final game.
Tsurenko, who stunned Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, is still projected to rise 10 spots to a career-high 26th in the world rankings.
Up next up for the 20-year-old Osaka will be the winner of the evening match between 2017 runner-up Madison Keys, who at 14 is the highest seed left in the women’s draw, and Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. (Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Ed Osmond)