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Osaka cruises into Australian Open semi-final awaits Serena or Halep

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World number three Naomi Osaka now awaits either veteran Serena Williams or world number one Simona Halep in the Australian Open semi-final.

The Japanese third seed warned Tuesday that she’s feeling confident and “at ease” after cruising past Hsieh Su-wei in straight sets.

The three-time Grand Slam champion overcame the Taiwanese world number 71’s unorthodox style 6-2, 6-2 in an all-Asian quarter-final at a crowd-less Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka hit 24 winners in a dominant display lasting just 66 minutes against her 35-year-old opponent, who made history by becoming the oldest woman in the Open era to debut in the quarter-finals of a Slam.

After being thrown off her rhythm early by the canny Su-wei, a focused Osaka took control and then cruised to victory in stark contrast to her fourth-round match where she needed to save two match points in a tense battle against last year’s runner-up in Australia, Garbine Muguruza.

“I think my confidence was raised after I played Muguruza the other day just because she’s such a quality opponent, and my back was against the wall,” Osaka said about coming back from 3-5 and 15-40 on her serve in the third set.

“I’m at ease with how my game is right now. I felt like today I told myself just to be really intense from the beginning. I didn’t want three sets’ –

Osaka, 23, will play either 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams or world number two Halep for a place in Saturday’s final.

Serena… someone that I feel really intimidated when I see her on the other side of the court,” said Osaka, who beat Williams in a tempestuous 2018 US Open final.

“Halep, I don’t really like playing her. She’s someone that’s really tough, someone that gets the ball back every time.

“For me, it’s definitely a mental and physical battle.

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