My close moment of religious conversion over Naomi Osaka came when I saw her up close in Indian Wells as she played Karolina Pliskova. Pliskova was and is a spindly machine, and she sends balls into corners without ever having to see or deal with them again. Osaka did the same and just did it all the better as he spanned the baseline more fluidly. Pliskova was then the seed No. 5, Osaka was not sown. She would win the title, an omen of even more. When they played against each other in the Australian Open semi-final on Wednesday night, the effect was the same, even if their positions were reversed.
In Australia, Naomi Osaka again defeated Karolina Pliskova just ten months later ̵
It was also an enthralling tennis, at least for anyone who loves to see the fluff hit off the ball. Both players clapped their first serves – Osaka had 15 aces – and put their teeth in the other's serves on the return to make sure none of the players won more than 37 percent of those supplies. Osaka and Pliskova are both playing to kill, and if this comprehensive observation can not satisfy you, the numbers testify to how brutal they were in their approach. There were a total of 181 points in this game and 76 or 42 percent ended with the winners. That's wild!
The worst moment of the match, for Osaka, came 1-0 in the third, when Pliskova struck several times in court to open three break opportunities. The 21-year-old had big shit in each of them. First, an Inside-In-In-Way Forehand Combo:
Then this almost alarming backhand on the straight line, best enjoyed: [19459022
Osaka stopped, broke and then held the remainder of the game to win.
This earned her a place in the final, where she will play Petra Kvitova, seed number 5. The stakes are suddenly quite high, because the winner takes not only the title, but the number 1 in the world. On paper, all this sounds like a dramatic fuss for a 21-year-old who was not even in the top 50 this year, and yet the only startling part of Osaka's Fourteen Days is how routine these winnings already look like. Only Su-Wei Hsieh was really afraid to play them, and used a game of all diversions and off-speed junk to reach a set and 2-4, 0-40. But Osaka was driven by this terrible scene to win 10 of the next 11 games. Since then everything was smooth enough to make a second slam finals in a row. Hopefully she can capture a few restorative memes and ZZZs before she gets involved.