Osaka passes Sevastova test to reach Brisbane semis


Naomi Osaka said the confidence of starting a year as a Grand Slam champion helped her pass a tricky test against Latvian Anastasija Sevastova and reach the semi-finals of the Brisbane International on Thursday.

The Florida-based Japanese player struggled to get to grips with Sevastova as she lost the opening set in 33 minutes but after a few wise words from coach Sascha Bajin she blasted through the next two sets to win 3-6 6-0 6-4.

The U.S. Open champion dropped only five points in the second set and then cruised through the decider.

“Maybe six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to do that (come back),” U.S. Open champion Osaka said.

“I’m not sure if I’d have had the same feeling — but six months ago I hadn’t won the U.S. Open. Now I sort of know what could potentially come next.

“I feel like right now I’m really confident in myself… so I’m not that scared or threatened… this was an important win. It’s harder for me to play against girls like her.”