Naomi Osaka advances to first tennis semifinal since 2021 Australian Open

(Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is heating up down under, advancing to the semifinals of the Summer Set 1 tune-up event in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.

Top-seeded Osaka beat Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 7-5 for her first semifinal berth since the 2021 Australian Open, which she eventually won. The four-time Grand Slam champion said earlier in the week that she’s happy to be back playing, despite her break being shorter than anticipated.

Second-seeded Simona Halep also advanced to the semifinals, defeating Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Following the win, Halep remained critical of her performance.

“Nothing was working today,” Halep said in her on-court interview. “I fought with myself a lot and found it difficult to control my emotions, but she put me in this situation and put pressure on me. But if you want to win, you don’t give up.”

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty advanced to the Adelaide International semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Barty laid down a career-high 17 aces and won 31 of 32 points on her first serve.

“I was able to look after my service games pretty well, and it was a lot of fun playing out here again and to get a little bit more court time and to start to play a little bit better,” Barty said.

The two-time Grand Slam champion will face off against Iga Swiatek for a spot in the final. Swiatek took down defending champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Notably, Azarenka later withdrew from doubles competition with a right thigh injury.

The Australian Open begins Jan. 17 at Melbourne Park.