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By Tennis Now | Friday, September 21, 2018

Streaking Naomi Osaka says its nearly impossible to play perfect tennis.

The US Open champion continues her perfect stretch of play.

Watch: Osaka's Reward

Osaka powered past Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the Tokyo semifinals and stretch her winning streak to nine matches.

It is Osaka's second Tokyo semifinal in the last three years.

"I played [Strycova] three times now, and each time it’s been very difficult," Osaka said. "I think I played well in the end to be able to win.

"I think it’s almost impossible to play perfect in every match. I feel like I adjusted. I knew that I wasn’t playing that great today, but I still adjusted and I managed to win. I never know why certain things aren’t working, but I feel like it’s my job to make sure that I do the best that I can in that situation."

The 20-year-old Japanese is through to her fourth semifinal of the season.

Continuing her quest for her third title of the year, Osaka will face Camila Giorgi for a spot in the final.

Giorgi held a 5-3 lead over Victoria Azarenka when the former world No. 1 retired with gastrointestinal Illness.

"I was focused today, I concentrated on my game and I always play to win," said Giorgi, who defeated Azarenka for the second time in as many meetings. "I’m playing good and just want to keep this momentum going." It is Giorgi's second win over a former top-ranked player.

The 37th-ranked Italian toppled top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, yesterday.

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka pulled the plug after 28 minutes of play.

The third-seeded Osaka will face Giorgi for the first time in a clash of explosive players.

Donna Vekic continued her run of fine form dismissing second-seeded Caroline Garcia, 6-3, 6-4.

The 45th-ranked Croatian has not dropped a set defeating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, former Wimbledon semifinalist Johanna Konta and Garcia in succession to advance to her second semifinal in her last four tournaments.

Vekic was runner-up to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Washington, DC last month.

The hard-hitting baseliner will play for her seventh WTA final when she takes on Karolina Pliskova next.

The fourth-seeded Pliskova opened quarterfinal play fighting off two match points in the 12th game of the final set edging Alison Riske, 6-1, 6-7 (5),7-6 (4).

It is Pliskova's second straight three-set victory following her comeback win over Daria Gavrilova.

"It was a very important win for me," Pliskova said. "I think she was a little bit better, but I just managed to fight somehow and get the victory. It was very close... and I'm just happy that I'm the winner."

The 2016 US Open finalist defeated Vekic, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, at the 2014 Monterrey in their lone prior meeting.


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