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Naomi Osaka fires 18 aces to reach Miami Open final

Tennis star Naomi Osaka closes out the match with an ace and a smile, having reached her first last since her second Australian Open title a yr in the past

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka fired off 18 aces as the previous world No. 1 beat Swiss Belinda Bencic, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, on Thursday, March 31, to achieve her first Miami Open last.

Osaka will subsequent face Poland’s second seed Iga Swiatek, who defeated American Jessica Pegula, 6-2, 7-5, to achieve a 3rd straight WTA 1000 last.

The Japanese star conceded solely two first-serve factors within the first set however was unable to transform when it counted as Olympic champion Bencic saved a pair of break factors within the second sport.

Osaka, who had not dropped a set within the event, then misplaced her serve within the third sport and once more within the fifth.

The pair traded breaks early within the second set earlier than Osaka seized the momentum after breaking within the sixth sport.

“She had a really amazing service return – there were times I thought that I hit great serves but she just hit winners,” Osaka mentioned.

“[I was] just battling my inner thoughts and trying to know that I must play one point at a time and, you know, adjust if I have to but try not to overwhelm myself with my thoughts.”

Osaka saved 5 of six break factors within the third earlier than closing out the match with an ace and a smile, having reached her first last since her second Australian Open title a yr in the past.

“I feel like if I was negative for a split second I would have lost the match today,” mentioned Osaka, who will play in her fourth WTA 1000 showpiece match on Saturday.

“I have to keep pumping myself up and I haven’t played as many matches as a lot of these other players so I just have to keep learning.” – Rappler.com

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