Osaka mulls over Brisbane near miss

Murray Wenzel
Naomi Osaka (R) will rue her near miss against Karolina Pliskova (L) in their Brisbane tennis semi

Naomi Osaka will head to Melbourne with a "no excuses" mantra stemming over the one that got away in Brisbane.

The world No.4 held match point on serve against defending Brisbane International champion Karolina Pliskova on Saturday night in what had been an elite display of serving and baseline hitting.

But the defending Australian Open champion went away from the blueprint when it mattered, rolling in a slower first serve and dumping a backhand in the net before losing her serve and eventually the match in almost three hours.

Pliskova, who won in Brisbane in 2017 and 2019, prevailed 6-7 (12-10) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 and will face Madison Keys in Sunday's final.

Osaka said the quality of the contest reminded her of a grand slam final, but couldn't shake that sinking feeling as she prepares to fly straight to Melbourne.

"All I can think is 'I wonder if I should have hit it (the serve) harder'," she said.

"I was thinking it was good idea, a change of pace, but maybe I shouldn't have done that on a match point.

"But I'll never know and it's kind of eating me up a little bit."

"(In the third set) I was just lingering too much on the match point and I'd played so many three setters and my body was like 'why are you doing this again'."

With bigger fish to fry at the Australian Open, Osaka has learnt from her experience last year as defending US Open champion.

And she will also be hopeful of mental improvements after another tough self-assessment on Saturday night.

"I realised I wasn't calm the entire time (against Pliskova) and that's something that I try to be good at, or tell myself when I play well that's what I'm good at," she said.

"Even my energy level in the third set was kind of messed up; I was trying to save my energy for points where normally I would bounce around.

"So maybe I need to stick to my routine and stop giving myself excuses."