Naomi Osaka will carry a 10-match winning streak on Australian soil into her Brisbane International semi-final, with Dutch sixth seed Kiki Bertens her latest victim on Friday.
Having overcome a shoulder injury in the off-season, the Japanese No.3 seed has now won three matches at the Queensland Tennis Centre, following her Australian Open triumph last year.
The 22-year-old faced her sternest test of the tournament before advancing 6-3 3-6 6-3 to book a semi-final showdown with either defending champion Karolina Pliskova or the unseeded Alison Riske.
After trading three straight breaks, Osaka clinched the opening set at the 38-minute mark before Bertens began to find her range.
Down a break in the second set, Osaka edged Bertens to within a game of levelling the match with a backhand into the net.
It brought the No.3 seed to her knees in dismay and she flung a towel over her head as she walked to the chair.
Third three-setter this week? No problem.
In an enthralling encounter, No.3 seed @naomiosaka prevails 6-3 3-6 6-3 over Kiki Bertens in just under two hours.
— #BrisbaneTennis (@BrisbaneTennis) January 10, 2020
Her frustrations only mounted when successive unreturnable serves from Bertens sealed the set – two 6-3 sets split, each set 37 minutes.
In a pivotal 11-minute opening game of the deciding set, it was Osaka who emerged on top after saving three break points.
A string of high-quality exchanges highlighted the remainder of the match and it was Osaka who landed the crucial break on a forehand volley winner at 3-2.
Her level never dipped again. A fourth ace brought up three match points and she secured the win on a return error from Bertens.
More to come …