Sport

Thrilling comeback sees ‘stressed out’ Osaka into Stuttgart semi-final

Thrilling comeback sees ‘stressed out’ Osaka into Stuttgart semi-final”

Top-ranked Naomi Osaka opened her clay-court season by beating Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3, on Thursday to reach the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals.

Osaka can not lose her number one spot in Stuttgart, but she will be looking to keep a healthy points lead over world number three Petra Kvitova, who also won her quarter-final.

Each of Osaka's three previous meetings with world number 24 Hsieh has gone to three sets.

Osaka easily won the first set before Vekic looked to have seized control of the match by winning the second and building up a 5-1 lead in the third.

Osaka had beaten Hsieh on the way to her Australian Open triumph in January.

Ferrer is set to retire after the Madrid Open next month and made a tearful exit on what was his last appearance at this tournament.

More news: Celtics Legend, Eight-Time NBA Champion John Havlicek Dies at 79

"I have no idea right now of the time or what's happening", Azarenka said.

"I felt like this surface is more suited for me (than Hsieh)", Osaka said. "I spent a really long time after Miami just training on clay, trying to get comfortable with it, and I'm really happy that that paid off".

Kvitova, who was promoted to second seed after the withdrawal of Romania's Simona Halep through injury, enjoyed a comfortable start.

After saving two break points early, it was an unusually smooth victory for Osaka over Hsieh. The 18-year-old had five break points in the next game, before the fourth seed held.

Estonia's Anett Kontaveit eased past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-2, while Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens took down Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. "So, for me it has been fun because I like to apply what I did wrong in the past, and I think that is what I was able to do today".

"My opponent was dictating the flow for a while there (in the second set), but I fought through it", Nishikori said.



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