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Naomi Osaka wins 19th consecutive match for spot in Australian Open semifinals

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Naomi Osaka advanced Tuesday to a potential semifinal showdown against Serena Williams at the Australian Open.

Osaka earned her 19th victory in a row by overpowering Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 6-2, and will next meet the winner of the quarterfinal match Tuesday night between Williams and No. 2-seeded Simona Halep.

“Normally I never look at my draw,” Osaka said. “But everyone has told me about my draw here, so I kind of had no choice but to know who my next opponent is. It’s definitely going to be really fun.”

Seeded third, Osaka reached 122 mph on her serve and pounded her forehand. She hit seven aces, lost only two points on her first serve and was never broken.

Osaka also played excellent defense, such as in the final game, when she raced forward to chase down a drop shot, flicking a backhand cross-court for a winner.

At 35, Hsieh was the oldest woman to make her Grand Slam quarterfinal debut in the professional era. But Osaka wasn’t fazed by Hsieh’s flat, deceptive two-handed strokes from both sides, pounding forehand winners into both corners.

Hsieh said Osaka is a threat to win the championship.

“She always can go all the way,” Hsieh said. “She just needs to play her game and stay calm. She’s a great player.”

Osaka’s winning streak includes a US Open title in September for her third Grand Slam championship. The streak also includes her fourth-round win last week, when she saved two match points and swept the final four games to overtake Garbine Muguruza.

“It makes me a bit more calm, knowing that my back was severely against the wall,” Osaka said.

Osaka is 4-0 in Grand Slam quarterfinals, including a victory en route to the Australian Open title in 2019.

In women’s doubles action, the extended run of the young American team of Coco Gauff and Caty McNally ended in the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to the fourth-seeded team of Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands and American Nicole Melichar.

Gauff and McNally had a 4-1 lead in the opening set before a series of unforced errors saw Schuurs and Melichar stage a comeback. The winners took a 3-1 lead in the second set after a service break and closed out the match quickly.

The American pair had beaten two seeded teams in previous matches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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