On Monday, US Open champion Naomi Osaka said she drew inspiration from Stefanos Tsitsipas’s shock win over Roger Federer after booking her maiden Australian Open quarter-final spot with a grinding 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova. For a second successive match at Melbourne Park, the Japanese fourth seed had to come back from a set down having survived a big scare against Taiwan’s wily Hsieh Su-Wei on Saturday.
On Sunday, At a tournament featuring thrilling runs by a number of youthful players, 21-year-old Osaka hunkered down to watch 20-year-old Tsitsipas take on Federer, and seeing the Greek topple the Swiss master gave her an additional spur. Osaka said on court after beating Latvian 13th seed Sevastova at Rod Laver Arena that, “she was watching all these kids winning and saw Tsitsipas beat Federer last night and was like, ‘whoa’,” she further added that, “she was watching him and also (Frances) Tiafoe, they were playing really well. They came out here against the top players and won. I wanted to do that as well.” Tiafoe had a 21st birthday to remember as the American upset former semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov in another upset on Sunday.
However, having beaten Serena Williams in straight sets during the U.S. Open final, there was nothing particularly shocking about Osaka reaching the quarter-finals in Melbourne where she will meet sixth seed Elina Svitolina. Yet, she was grateful not to join a long list of first-time Grand Slam champions that have flamed out quickly at their next major. she said that “To reach the quarter-finals here, of course, she is very happy,”.sh efurther added that, “A little part of her is relieved, because she has never reached the quarter-finals of a tournament (at) a Grand Slam aside from New York. So, definitely this was one of her goals.”
Osaka was far from her best as she struggled to hold serve against U.S. Open semi-finalist Sevastova and berated herself regularly during the sun-bathed clash at Rod Laver Arena. She held firm when it counted, however, breaking Sevastova in the seventh game of the decider before sealing the match with an imperious forehand down the line.
She said that “she think that, she doesn’t really have to deal with the things that she guess normal people have to deal with,” .Osaka’s post-match media conferences have been entertaining, a mix of awkwardness, humour and disarming candour. Having known only tennis since a child, she said she still needed to mature both on and off the court.