Naomi Osaka beats Danielle Collins to reach Miami Open semi-finals

Former world number one Naomi Osaka moved into the Miami Open semi-finals with a straight-set win over American Danielle Collins.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament, served 13 aces in a 6-2 6-1 win that lasted exactly an hour.

Australian Open finalist Collins appeared to be struggling with a neck injury throughout the match.

Osaka will play Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the semi-finals.

Olympic champion Bencic beat Australia’s Daria Saville 6-1 6-2 to reach the last four.

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Osaka, who was reduced to tears by a heckler during her second-round exit at Indian Wells this month, is playing just her fourth event since taking a break from tennis in September, and has dropped to 77th in the world rankings.

“This was my first night match so I didn’t know what the conditions were like but I was fine and the fans were great,” said the 24-year-old.

“I’m glad that, in a way, I don’t have a good ranking, because I’m able to play the matches that I need to play. I feel like I’m the type of person that plays better with more matches, so actually having back-to-back matches benefits me a lot.”

Semi-final opponent Bencic, 25, has also not lost a set so far in Miami and has beaten Osaka in four of their previous five meetings, most recently at the 2019 US Open.

“I get really emotional when I play people around my age or younger,” Osaka added. “I don’t know if it’s like this thing that I want to be better than them, but I just automatically put a lot of pressure on myself.

“I think my mentality was a very big part in my losses back then. Hopefully, it will be better, because I feel like I have kind of worked through it. So hopefully on Thursday, it will be more about tennis. “

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reached the semifinals of the Miami Open for the first time in her career when she beat ninth seed and home favorite Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-1 in a quarterfinal clash on Tuesday.

Osaka made just three unforced errors against the 11th-ranked American who has been dealing with a neck injury and needed a medical timeout during the match. The Japanese fired 13 aces to roll through her service games under the Hard Rock Stadium lights.

“I’m glad I was able to get through it quickly. I focused on trying to get a lot of really good returns,” Osaka said.

“This is actually also my first night match, so I didn’t know what the conditions would be like.”

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion who is currently ranked 77th in the world, had never advanced past the quarterfinals in Miami.

Her victory sets up a women’s singles semifinal clash with Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, who is ranked 28th, on Thursday. Bencic won the Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games last summer.

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