🇦🇺 Australian Open, Semi-Final Preview
🇯🇵 (4) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova
Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they go head-to-head in Thursday’s second semi-final at Melbourne Park. There is a lot on the line here. Osaka is two just 2 wins away from completing the rare New York / Melbourne double whilst Pliskova is two wins away from finally capturing that elusive maiden Grand Slam title. Both Osaka and Pliskova will become world number 1 if they go on to win the title in Melbourne. This is a big one between two powerful players.
Naomi Osaka has done extremely well to reach the semi-finals in her first Grand Slam since winning the US Open last year. Osaka continues to show maturity beyond her years. We have seen several players struggle with the pressure after breaking through and winning a Grand Slam title, that has certainly not been the case with Osaka who has admirably dealt this several tough situations on route to the final 4 in Melbourne.
Osaka cruised through her first couple of matches in Melbourne with straight set wins over Magda Linette and Tamara Zidansek. Osaka then navigated her way past Su-Wei Hsieh and Anastasija Sevastova, Osaka came from a set down in both of those matches, against Hsieh she was down a set and a break. Osaka sealed her spot in the final 4 with a fairly dominant 6-4 6-1 win over Elina Svitolina.
Karolina Pliskova is through to her third Grand Slam semi-final and will be aiming to reach her second Grand Slam final in her quest to finally win a Grand Slam title. Pliskova is widely regarded as the best player on tour not to win a Grand Slam title, the former world number 1 now has a great chance to change that.
Pliskova booked her spot in the semi-finals with a dramatic victory over Serena Williams. Pliskova blew a set and a break lead to trail Williams 1-5 in the decider, from there Pliskova won 6 straight games and saved 4 match points on route to a famous 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory. It has been a fantastic start to the season for Pliskova who is currently on a 10-match winning streak having won the Brisbane International title prior to arriving in Melbourne.
Pliskova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Osaka. The pair split their 2 meetings in 2018: Osaka won in 3 sets in Indian Wells whilst more recently Pliskova won 6-4 6-4 in the Tokyo final.
Who will prevail in the battle of the big hitters?