Nadal, Osaka, Kvitova through to the Australian Open final on Day 10

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-24 21:55:21|Editor: Xiaoxia
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MELBOURNE, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Open women's final has been set on Day 10 of the tournament with the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova to face young Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka after both players made it through Thursday's semifinals under Melbourne's blistering hot sun.

In the men's bracket, world number two Rafael Nadal is the first competitor to reach the final, after thumping 20-year-old Greek prospect Stefanos Tsitsipas in straights sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at the Rod Laver Arena.

While it's been a breakthrough tournament for Tsitsipas with wins over 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the fourth round and Spanish ace Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, the youngster simply couldn't match the precision and placement of the Spanish master.

"It was a great match, and it's been a great tournament," Nadal said after the match.

"I've played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it's probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy."

Despite claiming a 17th Grand Slam title last year when he won the French Open, much of Nadal's 2018 campaign was marred with injuries.

In fact, the 32-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International with an ankle injury just weeks out from the Australian Open.

"To start the season like this, when a few weeks ago I was in Brisbane, having to take a very tough decision for me not to play there. In that moment it was difficult for me to imagine being in this position today," Nadal said.

"That week in Brisbane in practice worked very well for me, then I arrived here and had another good week of work. And since the tournament started, I've felt really well."

Nadal is set to take on the winner of Friday's clash between world number one and six-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic and 28th seed Lucas Pouille.

"All semifinals are interesting and tough," Nadal said. "Novak is the favorite now, and he's been in that position so many times. For Lucas, it's the first one, but he won an amazing quarterfinal match and is playing so well."

"I always thought that Lucas is one of these players with amazing potential. He can beat everybody when he's playing well. So let's see. It's true that Novak is unbelievable, so for Lucas it will be difficult, but it's a tennis match -- anything can happen."

As temperatures pushed over 40 degrees celsius in the first women's semifinal match-up of the day between the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova and world number 35 Danielle Collins, officials decided to close the roof of the Rod Laver Arena midway through the first set.

Still riding high after a dominant straight sets victory over world number two Angelique Kerber in the round of 16, the American challenger was able to match it with the two-time Wimbledon Champion, pushing the first set into a tie-break.

But in the end, the experience and precision hitting of Kvitova proved the difference and Collins became visibly frustrated in the second set.

With a total of 30 winners to nine, Kvitova had all the momentum and the score finished 7-6 (2), 6-0.

"The first set was very tight, I was also very nervous and I couldn't fully swing," the world number six said after the match.

"It didn't matter if the roof was closed, I was still going to fight. I'm glad that my game from previous matches arrived in the tie-break and second set."

"Finally, I have made it deep here at this major and I will enjoy the final. Whatever happens I'm already very, very happy, I love playing finals," Kvitova added.

In today's other semifinal contest, Naomi Osaka and Czech world number eight Karolina Pliskova put on a spectacular three-set thriller.

Despite a strong start from last year's US Open champion in the first set, Pliskova mounted a fight-back in the second.

With fans on the edge of their seat and the recent memory of Pliskova coming back from 5-1 down in the third set of her quarterfinal match-up against 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, the stage was set for an epic deciding last set.

But Osaka managed to get the break and served out the match with the score ending 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

"I played her so many times and she's beat me more times than I've beat her, so I expected a really tough hard battle," Osaka said after the match.

"I just told myself to regroup and no matter what just try as hard as I can and I managed get the win."

"But I was so scared serving my second serve," the 21-year-old added. "But I guess that is just experience."