Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 10: Osaka’s first Slam semi-final, Keys up next

The 2018 US Open semi-finals are all set and will both be on the schedule on Thursday night. This post wraps up the highlights from Wednesday’s schedule with the two quarter-finals from the bottom half. Thursday is always the toughest day of the tournament to catch up on with both semis at night so this will be the last Slam Set Points post of the year! Read on for six stories including snap previews for both semi-finals.

Osaka’s reaches first Slam SF, beats Tsurenko in less than an hour

Naomi Osaka needed just 57 minutes to book her place in a first Slam semi-final, cruising past a weary and erratic, Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1 6-1. There was only the one moment of danger for Osaka who was forced to save three break points at *4-1 *0-40 in the second set. Osaka was very smart tactically, playing patiently and not overhitting. Tsurenko hit almost three times as many unforced errors as Osaka, most of them off the backhand wing. The serve was also a key factor in Osaka’s win as she won 20 of 22 first serve points.

Osaka said in her post-match interview that she didn’t even think it was that hot as she said she likes to sweat! She definitely seems to be one of the most unphased at playing in heat. Aside from the three set win over Sabalenka, Osaka has breezed through this draw with three of her four matches taking less than an hour.

For Tsurenko, it was always going to be an uphill struggle after her brutal match against Vondrousova in the fourth round and up against a strong-serving opponent. Tsurenko should take plenty of positives away from her first best ever Slam run.

Osaka and Tsurenko in press

Osaka’s press conference is linked below where she talked about her friendship with Kei Nishikori. Tsurenko revealed in her press conference (up on the US Open website) that she woke up feeling unwell with a viral illness. Such rough luck!

While I was sleeping…

Madison Keys broke once in each set to make it back-to-back US Open semi-finals with a 6-4 6-3 win over Carla Suárez Navarro. Keys has now made at least the semi-finals at three of her last five Slams.

Tennis with an Accent post

Really enjoyed this piece linked below by Matt Zemek for Tennis with an Accent. Love Matt’s work and always beautifully written.

Schiavone announces retirement

Francesca Schiavone announced her retirement from tennis in a press conference at the US Open on Wednesday. I’ll always have fond memories of Francesca’s historic win at Roland Garros back in 2010. I remember watching it the day after my uni summer ball. Thanks to @ForcedErrors on Twitter for reminding of the Schiavone-Hantuchova match from Birmingham back in 2013. I sadly had to leave after the second set but it was a supern contest which ranked as number two in my best matches that year. Schiavone  also played out a 16-14 third set epic against Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open which was my favourite match of 2011.

All the best, Fran! 😘

Thursday’s SF Previews

The semi-finals will both be played at night on Thursday with S.Williams vs. Sevastova up first, followed by Keys vs. Osaka

S.Williams vs. Sevastova: I can’t believe that Williams and Sevastova have never played each other before! If Sevastova brings her best, which is a big if because this will be the biggest match of her career so far, then I think she has attributes that can trouble Williams. Sevastova’s drop shots and all-court game have already knocked off two top ten players this week.

Williams has looked sharp all tournament and is serving extremely well. I tend to go with the same line that I put for Sevastova-Stephens in that I question whether Sevastova believes she can win this. Of course she came through her QF with flying colours against Stephens but in a night session against S.Williams, playing the American for the first time, it would be quite a feat for Sevastova to hold her nerve and get the win. S.Williams has fallen at the semi-final hurdle in her last 2 appearances at the US but I think she’ll make it this time. S.Williams in 2.

Keys vs. Osaka: This was actually my SF in my Draw Challenge 😲. In a sea of red on DC for most of 2018 😂, that’s probably my best pick of the year. Keys leads the H2H, 3-0. Keys won their first encounter at the US Open back in 2016, a defining match for both as Keys came from 1-5 down in the third set to win in three sets.

I’m not sure how much i’d read into the H2H because Osaka has spoken about how much she has progressed mentally, even since winning Indian Wells earlier this year. I think both have shown a willingness to be more patient and not go for all-out attack, and they are both clearly reaping the benefits of this approach. Keys has much more experience at this stage of Slams and perhaps more importantly, of playing night matches on Ashe. Osaka spoke of nerves against Tsurenko but it certainly didn’t show! Tough one to call and honestly will be happy whoever wins this one. Fond of both players! Keys in 3.

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7 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 10: Osaka’s first Slam semi-final, Keys up next

  1. I’m going for a Williams/Keys final as I think their experience will be a big help in the circumstances. I have not seen many of Sevastova’s matches in the past but did see her beat Svitolina and and if she plays as well as she did in that final set then Serena will have to be at her very best to win this but Serena is looking better in this GS than at Wimbledon imho and I think she will win. I will be cheering for Naomi to win but this is her first semi at the U S Open and I think that the experience of Keys could be an important factor and Keys may edge it. It will hopefully be a very good match.

    I was disappointed to hear from Naomi in her on court interview that some people had made fun of her for crying after her win against Sabalenka. I may be in the minority but I like to see players show some emotion and passion when it is appropriate ( as it was here as this was the first time that Naomi had made it to a QF in a GS ). I am glad that Billie Jean King agrees with me as she sent this tweet to Naomi ‘ I’m terribly sorry you were teased for crying following your U S Open victory. Never, ever be afraid to be your authentic self ‘

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  2. I’ll be surprised if Sevastova can execute her game against Serena’s power, but we shall see. The way Serena has been hitting though…

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  3. In the 4th round, 1/8 -final, I thought S Williams and Osaka would be in the final, and I haven’t seen anything to make me change my mind.
    Final a toss up. I think Osaka has the game to beat Serena, but emotions may rule the day.

    Interesting difference in the total poll votes between the two semi-finals. The count as of now 62 in one poll and 23 in the other poll, and Halep isn’t playing.

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    • I don’t see Osaka beating Serena on American soil twice in a row, but we will see. Serena is probably the best out there for learning her mistakes after a loss to a player and correcting them the next time around. As it was, Osaka played one of the best matches of her career against an unfit, unready and not very confident Serena in IW.

      Of course Serena could always throw in a real stinker like she did at Wimbledon…

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  4. Question for The Moo —- who has been there and done that
    In the large enclosed tennis stadiums, is the wind or breeze blocked, making the making the internal conditions more stifling than the outside open courts?

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    • I was trying to remember how it was in Ashe because I went the first year they had the roof on. I don’t remember it being stifling although it wasn’t as hot the year I went as this one.

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