Naomi Osaka fought back from a set down to defeat Bianca Andreescu in a captivating first meeting Friday between two of the biggest young talents in tennis.
The 21-year-old Japanese moved into the China Open semi-finals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in over two hours in Beijing. She now plays title-holder Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday in the last four.
The first installment in what should be the start of a long rivalry did not disappoint as Osaka brought the young Canadian’s run of 17 wins in a row to an end.
Fresh from stunning Serena Williams in the final of the US Open, the 19-year-old Andreescu surged into a 5-1 lead in the first set. But Osaka, the Australian Open champion and a former No 1, powered back to make it 5-5.
Only for Andreescu to break once more, before ramming home her advantage in a riveting first set.
Fourth-ranked Osaka, the Japanese who beat Williams to become the 2018 US Open champion, was soon under pressure in the second set.
Sixth-ranked Andreescu went up 3-1, but Osaka then reeled off five games straight to level at one set each and go to a decider.
Osaka nailed the third match point with an ace, her 11th of the match.