Beijing: Naomi Osaka fought back from a set down to defeat Bianca Andreescu in a captivating first meeting Friday between two of the biggest young talents in tennis.
The 21-year-old Japanese moved into the China Open semi-finals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in over two hours in Beijing.
She now plays title-holder Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday in the last four.The first instalment in what should be the start of a long rivalry did not disappoint as Osaka brought the young Canadian's run of 17 wins in a row to an end.
What an amazing match! The first chapter of what will be a storied rivalry ends with a win for @naomi_Osaka_ over Andreescu, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4!#ChinaOpen#大坂なおみ pic.twitter.com/znSJFwgTkN— WTA (@WTA) October 4, 2019
Fresh from stunning Serena Williams in the final of the US Open, the 19-year-old Andreescu surged into a 5-1 lead in the first set.
But Osaka, the Australian Open champion and a former number one, powered back to make it 5-5.Only for Andreescu to break once more, before ramming home her advantage in a riveting first set.
Fourth-ranked Osaka, the Japanese who beat Williams to become the 2018 US Open champion, was soon under pressure in the second set.
Sixth-ranked Andreescu went up 3-1, but Osaka then reeled off five games straight to level at one set each and go to a decider.Osaka nailed the third match point with an ace, her 11th of the match.
BARTY SETS UP SEMI-FINAL AGAINST BERTENS
Beijing: World number one Ashleigh Barty said she produced some of her best tennis this year as she battled into the China Open semi-finals Friday with a gutsy victory over Petra Kvitova.
The Australian came from a set down to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and will play Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the last four in Beijing.
"From my opinion, that was one of the highest-quality matches I played all year," said the 23-year-old, the reigning French Open champion.
"Petra always has a way of bringing out the best in me, she really does.
"From both of us, I think the level was incredible.
"Regardless of winning or losing, I think I'd be sitting here with the exact same perspective, kind of the same feeling of the match afterwards."
This was the sixth meeting between Barty and two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, with the former winning only one of her previous encounters against the Czech.
Barty, who had strapping on her left calf, was under the cosh in the deciding set after seventh-ranked Kvitova broke her first service game.
But Barty grabbed the break back and, with the clock ticking past two hours on court, broke Kvitova again for a decisive 5-3 lead.
Bertens, eighth in the world, sealed her spot in the semi-finals with a two-set victory over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.