Naomi Osaka credits a lot of hard work during the tennis shutdown for her semi-final spot tonight against 28th-seeded Jennifer Brady.
“In my mind I’m a pretty hard worker. I thought the practices and the fitness was really tough,” she said.
“I can only grade it for myself. But in my mind I thought it was pretty tough. I think that the results are showing. I’m aware that the opponents that I play from now on are going to be very tough.
“For me, I think the last two Grand Slams, everything happened so fast, I wasn’t really in the moment.
“I’m just really happy to be in the semis, and hopefully I can keep going.”
Osaka is not taking Brady lightly. She knows what tao expect from her opponent.
“I don’t feel like the favourite. Because there’s no fans, I don’t feel anything. I just feel like I’m going into a match with a really talented player, which is all of my previous matches anyway.
“I watched her match against Putintseva. I know she’s a big threat.”
Brady has yet to drop a set at this year’s Open. Her big forehand is her main weapon and coupled with some excellent court coverage, she is a real threat.
She has been training with a new coach in Germany and admits it has been a very positive change.
“I decided to go to Germany, because I found a new coach and he was based out of Germany, as well as my trainer there, Daniel,” she said.
“I decided if I want to give myself an opportunity to maximize my potential and see how far I can get as a tennis player, I think I have to make a change.”
As for her opponent? Respect.
“Naomi has won, you know, a Grand Slam.
“She’s obviously a great player. Very powerful, big serve, big shots off the baseline, one-two punch. You know, she’s a really good player.”
Osaka, 22 is after her second US Open.
Brady, 25, is competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final.