Osaka slams past Hsieh into round 4 of Australian Open

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Melbourne, Jan 19 (IANS) Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan outlasted upset artist Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei to reach the last 16 of the 2019 Australian Open on Saturday.

The No.4 seed downed her Taiwanese opponent 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for a second straight year, reports Efe.

Osaka bounced back from a set and a 4-1 down and squeezed past 28th-seeded Hsieh in one hour and 57 minutes.

Japan’s first-ever Grand Slam champion hit 41 winners, including eight aces and collected 42 unforced errors, nearly half of those in the first set.

A thrilling opening set saw a battle between heavy-hitter Osaka’s raw power and Hsieh’s double-handed deception, dinks, drop shots and invitations to over-hit.

Osaka got a chance for an early break at 1-1, but missed a return into the net on her break point, allowing Hsieh to hold for 2-1.

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Hsieh also benefited from Osaka’s numerous backhand errors to break serve and lead 4-2.

But Osaka was back in the game after the topsy-turvy opening set and picked off three games in a row to lead 5-4 and serve for the set.

She dominated the final set crushing 14 winners to only six unforced errors, while Hsieh won just 10 of 24 service points.

“Uhm, I just thought I didn’t want to give up,” Osaka said after the match.

The two Asian players clashed with a sporting spirit, with Osaka applauding a Hsieh winner early in the third set on her serve, while both were smiling in the last game that went Osaka’s way.

Osaka, who also made the fourth round here in 2018, will now play against Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the quarter-finals.

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–IANS

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