Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Nishikori turns tables on Cilic in tense quarter-final

Nishikori turns tables on Cilic in tense quarter-final

She's still in search of major title No. 1.

Osaka's next opponent will likely be her toughest yet, as she's set to face Madison Keys in the semifinals.

"Naomi's doing well, because she has won a Masters (Indian Wells)". One came in the last game as she served for the victory, but she erased it with a forehand victor, part of a 22-10 edge in that category.

The match was a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, which Cilic won, and the Croatian made a strong start as he took the opening set.

To win a title or even make a final in NY, where she and her sister Mari grew up learning tennis in a Haitian household with her father's parents and eating her mother's Japanese food, would speak to every part of Osaka's multicultural experience.

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She was finally tested in the round of 16, edging past No. 26 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in a little more than 2 hours, but she was back in complete control against Tsurenko, winning 20 of 22 points (91 per cent) on her first serve.

In a rematch of the 2014 final, it was the Japanese star who exacted his vengeance by squeezing through to the US Open semi-finals after a gruelling 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 victory in four hours and eight minutes. After Cincy, I took maybe a month doing nothing and just doing rehab', said Nishikori.

He is into his third major semifinal, all in NY but is still in search of his initially Slam trophy.

"The quarters was sort of my mental goal, every time I played a Grand Slam", said Osaka. "They never gave up on me", she said.

The Indian Wells victor dropped just two games in the entire match and had far too much for her opponent, who had stunned Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

"Unfortunately during this tournament I had many issues with my health, and today was not my day obviously".

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It was Osaka's, though.

She pushed some balls a few feet past the baseline, often failing to make Osaka do anything special to win a point and finishing with 31 unforced errors.

Nishikori raced into a 4-1 lead but Cilic broke back to take the set to 4-4. He had a letdown at the very end, too, rallying from 4-1 down to 4-all, before Nishikori grabbed the last two games.

That was a wrist injury that kept him off the tour from late last season until early this year.

"I really don't think it's that hot, sorry".

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