Naomi Osaka reaches semi-finals of Australian Open warm-up event

The Australian Open champion will contest her first semi-final since Melbourne last year

Eleanor Crooks
Friday 07 January 2022 15:12
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<p>The Australian Open champion will contest her first semi-final since Melbourne last year</p>

The Australian Open champion will contest her first semi-final since Melbourne last year

Naomi Osaka continued her winning return to the court by reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open warm-up tournament in Melbourne.

The reigning champion at Melbourne Park had not played since the US Open, taking a second break from the sport for mental health reasons, but has impressed this week.

She survived a second-set wobble to defeat German veteran Andrea Petkovic 6-1 7-5 and reach her first semi-final since last year’s Australian Open.

Osaka will take on third seed Veronika Kudermetova in the last four while second seed Simona Halep meets Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen in the other semi-final.

World number one Ashleigh Barty is also having a good run in Adelaide, and a 6-3 6-4 victory over former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin took her through to the semi-finals.

Next she faces a tasty encounter with fifth seed and defending champion Iga Swiatek, who battled to a 6-3 2-6 6-1 victory over Victoria Azarenka.

Spain are the first team through to the semi-finals of the ATP Cup in Sydney thanks to a 2-1 victory over Poland.

After Pablo Carreno Busta comfortably defeated Jan Zielinski, Roberto Bautista Agut prevailed in one of the matches of the week against Hubert Hurkacz, coming through 7-6 (6) 2-6 7-6 (5).

Rafael Nadal opted not to play in the team event, instead contesting the ATP event in Melbourne, and he was given a free passage through to the semi-finals when opponent Tallon Griekspoor withdrew injured.

There he will face Finn Emil Ruusuvuori while Grigor Dimitrov meets American Maxime Cressy.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has been given a wild card into next week’s Sydney Tennis Classic.

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