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By Tennis Now | Friday, January 4, 2019

Lesia Tsurenko

Lesia Tsurenko stunned US Open champion Naomi Osaka, 6-2, 6-4, charging into her first WTA Premier final at the Brisbane International.

Photo credit: @BrisbaneTennis

Haunted by her last meeting with Naomi Osaka, Lesia Tsurenko was hungry for the rematch.

A focused Tsurenko broke to open and unleashed a five-game surge to spark a 6-2, 6-4, upset of the US Open champion and charge into her first WTA Premier final at the Brisbane International.

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Serving with authority, Tsurenko played with more clarity and energy throughout breaking to start both sets.

"I was a little bit nervous at the beginning and at and the end, but in general I'm really happy with my performance," Tsurenko said. "She has such a great serve. She's serving so well I couldn't find the rhythm (on return) so it's a really, really nice win for me."

The second-seeded Osaka was her own worst enemy at times, committing 26 unforced errors, sailing shots at critical stages and conceding to coach Sascha Bajin during one coaching visit she felt stressed and out of sorts.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian will play for her fifth career title in tomorrow's final against either former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova or Donna Vekic.

Osaka crushed Tsurenko, 6-1, 6-1, in the US Open quarterfinal en route to capturing her first career Grand Slam title in September.

In tonight's rematch, Tsurenko broke in the opening game and never trailed.

Stepping into the court, Tsurenko slashed a forehand crosscourt holding for 4-2. She scored her second break for 5-2.

Despite hitting a couple of double-faults, Tsurenko served out the 29-minute opener.

Tsurenko reeled off five straight games stretching a 3-2 lead to a one-set, 2-0 lead.

"For me the key was to stay aggressive, to serve well, to give good direction for each serve," Tsurenko said. "I was trying my best to do it because I know each time I do a little bit of mistake on serve she will just kill it. I'm happy I did it."

Denying a pair of break points, Tsurenko held for 4-2. 

Facing double match point, Osaka erupted for a pair of aces, part of a three-ace uprising to hold in the eighth game. Tsurenko converted her fourth match point to finish it.


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