Naomi Osaka had to dig deep to prevail against Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round of the Australian Open, coming back after dropping the first set to claim a thrilling victory over the Spanish star.
In a two-hour heavyweight battle of former world No.1s and multiple major winners, Osaka prevailed 4-6 6-4 7-5 on Sunday to advance to the quarter-finals.
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The epic battle set Osaka up for a clash with veteran Hsieh Su-Wei, who has made her way to the quarterfinals thanks to a straight-sets win over Czech player Marketa Vondrousova.
Osaka, who was clearly frustrated at times before rallying to complete the impressive comeback, didn't seem interested in playing any games when she was interviewed after the game.
She had an awkward exchange with the interviewer Brett Phillips, who referenced Osaka's earlier statement about the 'fight' she needed to win her third round match against Ons Jabeur.
While Phillips was clearly attempting to prompt Osaka to discuss the difficult match-up against Muguruza, the veteran tennis commentator failed to actually ask the 23-year-old a question, which she was quick to point out.
"That was worthy of a grand slam final, what a finish - you brought out the big stuff when you needed it most to save match point," Phillips said.
"You talked about the fight you had to show in your last match that you were impressed with, but today you had to take it to another level against a quality opponent."
Phillips might have appreciated the lack of a crowd when Osaka responded.
"That wasn't a question," the 23-year-old pointed out.
Well, that was awkward and good for Naomi Osaka for calling it out.
And remember, reporters, please phrase your question in the form of a question. pic.twitter.com/SKXfLAyEzK
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) February 14, 2021
Naomi Osaka saves match point in Australian Open epic
Osaka had admitted before the match that she suspected her work would be cut out for her and that prediction turned out to be most accurate.
Champion at Melbourne Park in 2019 and a dual US Open winner, she was staring down the barrel serving at 4-5, 15-40 in the deciding set but came up with a clutch ace and booming forehand winner to save the pair of match points.
She finished with 40 clean winners and 36 unforced errors after needing to redline it to keep Muguruza at bay.
The Spanish star's only defeat in eight matches this summer came against world No.1 Ash Barty in the final of the Yarra Valley Classic lead-up event.
Osaka knew she was in for a torrid day out in her first career meeting with Muguruza.
"I feel like today I didn't really know what to expect because I'd never played her before," Osaka said.
"I just knew it was going to be tough. I was a bit intimidated because I knew she was playing really well coming into this match.
"In the stressful points, I feel like I just had to go within myself and I know that I probably hit a lot of unforced errors but it was something I needed to do.
"I couldn't really give her any short balls because she would finish it."
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