Confident Osaka into Brisbane semi-finals

Laine Clark
Japan's Naomi Osaka had to work hard for her quarter-final berth at the Brisbane International

Lessons learned from her "pathetic" display at last year's US Open have steeled Japan's Naomi Osaka ahead of her Australian Open defence.

The world No.4 appears on track for the year's opening grand slam after overcoming sixth seed Kiki Bertens in three sets to book a Brisbane International semi-final berth on Friday.

Third seed Osaka has been impressive in Queensland, extending her winning run to a career-high 14 matches after outlasting world No.9 Bertens of the Netherlands 6-3 3-6 6-3.

From the outside looking in, Brisbane appears to be the perfect Australian Open springboard for Osaka.

But the Japanese young gun said the seed had been planted for her stunning run of form way back in September when she crashed out of the US Open in the fourth round.

Osaka admitted she was still kicking herself after her straight sets loss to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in New York, abruptly ending her US Open title defence.

"I think I really learned a lot from New York and for me, that was a really big turning point," the 22-year-old said.

"I feel like in that match I played (against Bencic), there were moments where I accepted defeat and I was okay with it.

"After the match I was just so disgusted with myself because when I was a kid I would dream to be in that position so I could fight to go to the finals and win it.

"For me to think that it's okay to like lose in the fourth round is kind of pathetic. So I just told myself after that match I'm going to fight for every point.

"And now we are here."

Osaka will play the winner of Friday's quarter-final between Brisbane defending champion Karolina Pliskova and American Alison Riske.

But it seems whoever Osaka meets, the Japanese star will be ready to rise to the occasion after her US Open experience.

Asked if she was ready to defend her Australian Open title after her New York disappointment, Osaka said: "I am confident.

"I think mentally (I am ready), and for me that's always the most important part.

"I think I play better when I'm mentally sound. So, yeah, I'm pretty confident in my abilities."