“I Always Watch Serena’s Matches”: Naomi Osaka Reflects on Her Semifinals Draw at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/15/2021, 10:53 PM EST
Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – January 29, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka with Serena Williams of the U.S. at A Day at The Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette


The first quarterfinal of the Australian Open 2021 exceeded all the measures of expectations. Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 2-6, 2-6 in an hour and six minutes.

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Coming into the match, both the players carried a different style of game. While the World No. 3 had dynamic power, the 35-year-old Su-wei had her wits. Thus, it was a battle between a genius server and a master returner.

What’s more, even though their history favored the young Japanese (4-1), the veteran was on a mission in this tournament. With cleverness and accuracy, the Taiwanese had outclassed all her previous opponents, reaching her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. Needless to say, the match saw the best of both worlds.

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Naomi Osaka dominates the first set over Hsieh Su-wei

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her quarter-final match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Kelly Defina

The 3-time Grand Slam champion started with more confidence than in her previous match. As a result, Naomi was able to put her opponent on the back right from the beginning.

Across the net, the plan had been the same for Su-wei throughout the tournament, bring players close to the net. But with Osaka’s lightning groundstrokes, she couldn’t use her magic trick.

Eventually, Naomi Osaka got the first break in the opening set and led the scoreboard 3-1. Following that, the current doubles World No. 1 had a chance to break back, but she scraped away two breakpoints.

Finally, the Japanese star took the reward and broke the veteran’s serve again to win the first set. The score: 2-6.

Naomi rattles the Taiwanese professional away

It was time for the Taiwanese professional to show that she is not a spectator. However, Naomi was playing freely and without being nervous for the first time in the tournament.

With a classic forehand winner from the corner of the court, the Japanese won the lead again. Undoubtedly, the young gun in the match showed more discipline and maturity than her opponent.

With 0-3 ahead in the second set, Su-wei could see her end inching closer. Clearly, with Osaka throwing the best at her, the Taiwanese professional couldn’t find a breakthrough.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her quarterfinal match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Loren Elliott

On the other side, it was a relief to see the reigning US Open champion coming through at last. She did not hesitate even for a second, held every serve, and broke her opponent again to win the match. The final score: 2-6, 2-6.

However, without a doubt, Hsieh Su-wei had an exceptional tournament, and no one can take that away from her. But Osaka is through to the semifinals and will face the winner between Serena Williams and Simona Halep next. And she is all smiles at the prospect of the same.

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After the match, the Japanese answered questions about her next opponent. She said, “I know my next opponent is Serena or Halep, and I always watch Serena’s matches anyway.”

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Furthermore, she explained that she doesn’t normally look at the draw, but others had told her about it. However, her final words showed her confidence. “It’s definitely gonna be really fun,” Naomi answered.

Above all, the Japanese star has experience of playing against both potential opponents. While she has an advantage over Serena, she is trailing behind Simona.

Considering her latest win, she has found what she needed to win the title. And hence, defeating her in Melbourne will take everything from her opponent. With things finally looking up Osaka’s way, can she see the challenge through to the end?

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Purav Joshi

658 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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