Nishikori, Osaka give Japan historic tennis day at US Open

Slugfest Aryna Sabalenka topples two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to set up a US Open fourth-round meeting with Naomi Osaka

Only once had Japan had a man and woman reach the quarterfinals of the same major, and Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date both lost in that round at Wimbledon in 1995.

After Naomi Osaka had routed Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 to become the first Japanese woman in 22 years to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, Nishikori followed his compatriot into the last four in a match lasting over four hours.

Meanwhile, the women's draw at the 2018 US Open belongs to the lower seeds.

She raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set and then 4-0 in the second against the shaky Tsurenko, who finished with more unforced errors than points in her first major quarter-final.

Nishikori said: "It was really tough".

Osaka celebrated her win calmly and coolly unlike the floods of tears which greeted her last-16 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

The No. 20 seed moved from Japan to NY at age 3, and her deepest major run is coming at the same tournament she first visited as a child. "I thought it was really cool". I train in Florida.

Osaka swept aside 36th-ranked Tsurenko in just 57 minutes as the Ukrainian's challenge fizzled out in a deluge of mistakes.

Initially on Wednesday, it looked like the match might follow a similar storyline from four years ago when seventh-seeded Cilic took the opening set from a sluggish Nishikori.

But Tsurenko said she was sick Wednesday, waking up with a sore throat and not breathing well.

This is her first career Grand Slam semifinal in what's been a year of firsts for her so far.

"Well, in the mornings I don't play matches, I walk around and hear the lovely honking", Osaka said.

"I just woke up today with a viral illness or whatever it is".

"I didn't want to pull out as it's a Grand Slam quarter-final but she played well".

As Nishikori began to find his rhythm Cilic suddenly started to misfire, the Japanese 21st seed collecting a second consecutive break on a double fault to surge in front 5-4 before holding serve to level the match.

The American fired 22 winners and six aces past Suarez Navarro who had knocked out former champion Maria Sharapova in the previous round.

The 2017 U.S. Open finalist defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-3 in their quarter-final meeting.

Osaka said she has tried to keep this tournament business-like as she navigates her way through the draw, but her triumph in NY is not just about advancing her career.

"When I was 5-1 down in 2016, the crowd pulled me through".

She purported to be "freaking out inside", even if it certainly never showed.

Serbian sixth seed Djokovic, who will cap the night session, is in familiar territory, appearing in his 11th quarter-final at Flushing Meadows, and looks like a favourite with five-times victor Roger Federer knocked out of his half of the draw.

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