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Tennis - Osaka blows away Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis

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Tennis - Osaka blows away Svitolina to reach Melbourne semis
Tennis - Australian Open - Quarter-final - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 23, 2019. Japan's Naomi Osaka acknowledges the crowd after winning her match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. REUTERS/Aly Song   -   Copyright  ALY SONG(Reuters)
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka proved too strong for sixth seed Elina Svitolina on Wednesday as the U.S. Open champion cruised into her first Australian Open semi-final with a 6-4 6-1 win.

The 21-year-old Japanese, who committed a string of unforced errors, faces up a potential rematch of her controversy-marred final at Flushing Meadows with Serena Williams, who plays Karolina Pliskova in the remaining quarter-final.

After two consecutive breaks of service for each player in the opener, Osaka set up a fourth set point opportunity with a crisp backhand winner and converted it when Svitolina found the net with a thumping return.

The Ukrainian took a medical timeout in the second set as Osaka opened up a 4-0 lead but it made no difference as the fourth seed served her eighth ace then converted her first match point with an overhead winner, sealing the contest in an hour and 12 minutes.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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