News & Media

Osaka, Pliskova, Kvitova and Keys vie for final

11 January 2020, by Dan Imhoff

Naomi Osaka is trying not to become swept up in the hype of winning streaks anymore after having her heart broken last year.

The Japanese dual major champion won through to a Brisbane International semi-final showdown with Karolina Pliskova on Friday to put her on a 14-match unbeaten run and a 10-match streak in Australia, following her second Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park last January.

Osaka was not in Brisbane with any win streak in mind.

As the 22-year-old and new coach Wim Fissette agreed, they were only here with a trophy on the radar.

“I don’t really think too much about like the win thing, because there was a streak last year that I was really like intent on and then when I lost it, it was just really devastating,” Osaka said.

“So, honestly, I’m just focused on the things that I can control right now.”

The obvious broken streak, which could have heaped pain on Osaka came with her third-round defeat at last year’s French Open in Paris.

It came after back-to-back Grand Slam victories at the US and Australian Opens.

“No, it was the, something about if I win the first set or something then I don’t lose the match. That one broke my heart,” Osaka laughed.

“Su-Wei, why’d she have to do me like that?”

Osaka had 63 straight wins after winning the first set before her loss against Hsieh Su-Wei in Miami last March.

She has split four meetings with the next player tasked with ending her current run, Pliskova.

The Czech defending champion impressed in a straight-sets victory over unseeded American Alison Riske on Friday night and will remember well her three-set defeat to Osaka in last year’s Australian Open semi-finals.

“Look it was 4-6 in the third, which is a good match, which could go both ways,” she said of their Melbourne match.

“She’s always challenging to play, some great serves and it’s going to be a great match.”

In the first women’s singles semi-final on Saturday, fifth seed Petra Kvitova will take on US No.8 seed Madison Keys for the seventh time.

It is the first time four seeds have reached the Brisbane semi-finals since 2014.

Following her straight-sets win over Jennifer Brady on Friday, Kvitova shared a nostalgic omen about her title run on Pat Rafter Arena nine years ago.

She went go on to win her first Wimbledon title and the WTA Finals later that year.

“Winning in 2011, that was a great one,” the Czech said. “It was a key for bigger success, which I had in my career, so, yeah, definitely it’s a great place to be.”

Keys and Kvitova are split three wins apiece but have not squared off in more than three years.

The American had few hassles as she dismissed compatriot Danielle Collins on Friday and knew what to expect against Kvitova.

“Petra is Petra. Great serve, great forehand,” Keys said.

“It seems like every year she comes out and she’s gotten something else in her game a little bit better and it just makes her even tougher to play.”

In the opening match of the day, top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova will take on the unseeded Lyudmyla Kichenok and Zhaoxuan Yang for the chance to meet Queensland’s Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens in tomorrow’s women’s doubles final.