Naomi Osaka shrugged off a Karolina Pliskova comeback in the second set to move into her second successive Grand Slam final on Thursday.
The Japanese player won 6-2, 4-6 6-4 to clinch her semi-final against a player who had come back from 5-1 down in the final set of her previous match to beat Serena Williams.
And it looked like Pliskova was looking to repeat the dose in this match against Osaka too, as she overcame a set and a break in the second to level the score. However, Osaka proved to be too good in the final set, breaking her opponent early and then moving on to win the match.
Pliskova herself had a chance to go 2-0 up in the final set, with a break point in the second game but Osaka held on and then broke her Czech opponent to go 2-1 up. And following that, there were no more losses of serves from either player as the Japanese went through to win the final game at 30.
A relived Osaka said after the match:
“I was expecting a hard battle. I tried to regroup in the third set. Experience playing matches like this helped. I was so scared serving second serves. Somehow I made it.”
Much like Danielle Collins, she was looking forward to playing without the roof and said:
“I like the heat so was sad (the roof was closed). They had the roof open earlier and I was thinking ‘this is my time to shine’.”
Interestingly, around the same time last year, Osaka was the 72nd-ranked player in the world. A win over Kvitova will take her to the pole spot along with two Grand Slam titles under her belt.