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Naomi Osaka beats Andrea Petkovic to reach semi-finals in Melbourne

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Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany to reach the semi-finals of the Melbourne Summer Set on Friday. The Japanese star raced through the opening set in just 26 minutes, but fought hard in the second to beat Petkovic 6–1, 7–5 and advance to the semifinals against third seed Russian Veronika Kudermatova, who played fellow Russian Anastasia. Potapova 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 to make it to the semi-finals. Osaka was in pitiful form in the first set, smashing winner after winner from both sides, running for a 5–0 lead before Petkovic was able to serve at the end.

When Osaka broke Petkovic in the opening game of the second set, it looked like an opening night for the four-time Grand Slam champion.

However, Petkovic upped his game as Osaka dropped a bit and the German bounced back for a 4-2 lead.

But Osaka bounced back and leveled the set, then broke 5-5 before comfortably ending the match.

Osaka said it was good preparation to go past someone who was playing better in the set ahead of this month’s Australian Open.

“That’s why I came and played in this tournament, to get myself into challenging conditions,” she said.

“I felt like I had learned from him while playing the match.

“The way he didn’t give up at any point was really cool and I thought I should do the same thing and see what happens.”

Halep in the semifinals

Earlier, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep made it to the last four for the final clash with Osaka.

The former world number one, whose season was marred by injury last year, beat Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena, but it was a tough slog.

“It was really hard for me to accept,” said Halep, who missed Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics last year with a calf injury and ended her season early with a knee problem.

“I didn’t believe I could win this match but I fought till the end and I am very proud of it.”

She was in charge in the first set, but her killer instincts saw her drop in the second, breaking while serving for 5-3, then making 23 unforced errors while serving for the match.

He traded a break in the third set until Halep dug deeper, saving four break points in the seventh game and then a hard-fought victory in the ninth game.

The 126th-ranked Chinese defeated Anna Konjuh of Croatia 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (8/6).

Two WTA events are being run simultaneously as part of the Melbourne Summer Set.

In the second event, American Amanda Anisimova went through a tough test against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a last-four clash against 26th-ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina. Key, who defeated Nuria Parijas of Spain. Diaz 7-5, 6-1.

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American Ann Lee overcame Russia’s Kamila Rakhimova 6-1, 7-5 and Belarus’s Aliaksandra Sasnovich progressed when Swiss teenager Klara Tosson took a 6-3, 2-0 lead with Sasnovich.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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