Naomi Osaka Reaching the US Open Quarterfinals is Making History of Her Own
(September 3, 2018) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori are making their own history. This is the first time since Wimbledon 1995 that there will be a Japanese man and woman in the quarterfinals of a major. This is the first time at the US Open, the second time at a major in the Open Era. Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date were the last Japanese man and woman who reached the final 8 at a major – Wimbledon 23 years ago.
Osaka, who did not know about the milestone that she and Nishikori made today, praised her countryman: “No, I mean, like, seeing Kei do really well in Wimbledon, that really inspired me. I always thought if I can keep up with him, that would be really cool.
“So, yeah, I’m glad I was able to be a part of something like that today.”
Osaka is making great progress in trying to keep up with Nishikori.
Osaka, the 20th seed beat No. 26 seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the final eight on the US Open on Monday. Osaka becomes the first Japanese woman major quarterfinalist since Shinobu Asagoe did it at the US Open in 2004.
Osaka was very emotional after the victory.
“I think it’s mainly because I’ve had, like, there’s people that call it a bad memory here. Every time I play a Grand Slam, people ask me am I going to go farther than the third round. Then in Australia I went to the fourth round, then people were like, Are you going to go farther than that or is that where you’re going to stop?
“I don’t know, I’ve always dreamed of playing here and going to the quarterfinals and further. So I’m just glad I could do one of my goals.”
This is just Osaka’s third main draw appearance, 11th overall in a major tournament. The quarterfinals of the US Open is her best showing ever in Flushing Meadows. She also reached the round at this year’s Australian Open, for her first fourth round appearance at any major. At this time last year she was ranked 45th in the world.
Naomi Osaka came into the US Open having her most successful pro season to date, winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The victory at Indian Wells was the first time a Japanese woman had won a premier mandatory event on the WTA tour. It was her first tournament win of any kind, which made her the third youngest winner at 20 years old on the WTA tour this year.
— IMG Tennis (@IMGTennis) September 3, 2018
Nishikori is the top-ranked Asian male in ATP World Tour history, reaching No. 4 in the world on March 2, 2015. At this past Wimbledon he became the first Japanese player to complete a set of quarterfinals at all four majors.
The quarterfinals of the US Open is nothing new to Kei Nishikori. He reached the US Open final in 2014 where he lost to Marin Cilic. On Monday he beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the final eight in his second straight major tournament. He lost to the eventual champion, Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Nishikori missed last year’s US Open due to a right wrist injury.
Nishikori will be facing Cilic again at the US Open, this time in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The seventh seeded Cilic beat 10th seed David Goffin in straight sets.
As for Osaka, she’ll be facing off against Lesia Tsurenko who rallied past Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the semifinals. Maybe Osaka will make more history and catch up to Nishikori.