Osaka dreams of Open final with Ash Barty

·2-min read

If she gets the chance to take on Ash Barty in what would be a promoter's dream Australian Open final, Naomi Osaka wants the Rod Laver Arena grandstands to be packed.

At least as packed as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will allow.

Osaka powered into the Open semi-finals on Tuesday, ending the fairytale run of Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei with a 6-2 6-2 demolition job.

Next up for the No.3 seed is a Thursday blockbuster with Serena Williams after the 23-times major ousted world No.2 Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 in the second quarter-final.

And even though the world's best tennis players often claim they never look far ahead in the draw, Osaka was prepared to publicly entertain the thrilling possibility of taking on world No.1 Barty in Saturday night's title match.

Were the Queenslander to make it to the final, the hype and expectation would be off the charts that she could end a local title drought at the Open dating way back to Chris O'Neil in 1978.

"I would want people to come," said Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open champion.

"I feel that's something for (Barty) that would be a big memory.

"Even for me, I've played finals before with no crowd and it's definitely memorable.

"But I'm sure for her, if she reaches the final and there's no crowd, it would be memorable but kind of in a sad way.

"I'm sure she would want a crowd and I would want a crowd too, even if they don't cheer for me.

"That's just the way life is. It's just more fun."

The Victorian government will decide on Wednesday whether to end the COVID-19 lockdown after five days.

Also still to be determined is whether fans will be allowed to return to Melbourne Park for the final four days of the Open.

Osaka's power proved way too much for Hsieh's finesse on Tuesday.

The pre-tournament favourite and 2019 Open champion needed only 66 minutes to see off the challenge of Hsieh, who was playing in her first grand slam quarter-final at the age of 35.

The pair also met in the third round two years ago, when the Japanese three-time major winner came back from a set down to win before going on to claim her first Australian Open title.

"It's not easy, it's my first quarter-final, so I try to tell myself it's OK and try to do my best," said Hsieh, who is coached by Australian Paul McNamee.