Tennis

Sakkari hands Osaka shock defeat to reach Miami Open semi-final

Maria Sakkari ended Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak with a straights set win to reach the last four at the Miami Open.
Maria Sakkari ended Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak with a straights set win to reach the last four at the Miami Open. USA TODAY Sports - Geoff Burke

Second seed Naomi Osaka suffered a shock straight sets loss to Maria Sakkari in the quarter-final at the Miami Open on Thursday.

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The world number two went into the match against the 23rd seed Maria Sakkari on the back of a 23-match winning streak that had brought her the 2020 US Open title as well as this year’s Australian Open crown.

But the 25-year-old Greek swept past her 6-0, 6-4 to advance to the semi-final of the Miami Open.

After losing the first set in 21 minutes, Osaka appeared to have gathered herself.

She led 4-1 in the second set but Sakkari rediscovered her groove with five games on the trot to set up a clash with the eighth seed Bianca Andreescu.

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"I don't think tennis-wise it was like the best tennis I have ever played in my life," said Sakkari after claiming her sixth win over a top five player.

 "I think I executed my strategy really well. I just did what I had to do.”

Osaka’s exit means she loses the chance to lead he women’s rankings. She last held top spot between August and September in 2019.

“I feel like even if you're not playing great you should still find ways to win," said Osaka.

“I'm trying to find ways to do that," she added. “I think the more times that stuff like this happens, the more I'll learn from it.”

In the other semi-final top seed Ashleigh Barty will face the fifth seed Elina Svitolina for a place in Saturday’s final.

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