In a highly anticipated quarterfinal match in Beijing between reigning Grand Slam champions Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka, it was Osaka who came out on top, 5-7, 6-3,6-4, snapping the Canadian teen’s 17-match winning streak.
"I know that she’s such an amazing player,” said Osaka during her post-match interview. “She’s like on a 17-match winning streak or something crazy so I told myself I have to keep fighting."
In a topsy-turvy first set, Andreescu raced to a 5-1 lead before Osaka reeled off four straight games to level the set 5-5. The momentum switched hands again, with the Canadian teen winning the next two to take the lead.
Andreescu drew first blood in the second set to go up 3-1. Refusing to go down without a valiant fight, Osaka—last year's Beijing semifinalist—rallied to take the next five games to force a deciding third set.
The 2019 US Open broke at love in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, but Osaka broke right back. Deep in the set, both players raised the level of their play but it was the Japanese star who prevailed to serve out the tight win. With the victory, Osaka ended Andreescu’s 8-0 record against Top 10 players and 13 consecutive third-set wins.
"I forgot how it felt and honestly it sucks," said Andreescu after her loss. "I didn't miss it."
Osaka will battle Caroline Wozniacki next for a spot in the final. Wozniacki, the defending champion, took out Daria Kasatkina, 6-3, 7-6 (5). It’s the Dane’s second semifinal of the season—her first since reaching the Charleston final in April. Before entering the China Open, the 2018 Australian Open champion had failed to string together three consecutive matches in nine events.
"I've always had tough matches against her," Wozniacki said. "She's a good player, very talented, mixes up the pace. I just tried to stay focused. I think we both played some great points, some great rallies. I was happy to finish it off in two sets, finish it off in the tiebreaker.
"I feel like I play very well here. It suits my game."
The other semifinal will feature top-seeded Ashleigh Barty and No. 8-seeded Kiki Bertens. Barty rallied past Petra Kvitova, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Bertens prevailed over Elina Svitolina, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
"From my opinion, that was one of the highest quality matches I played all year," Barty said. "Petra always has a way of bringing out the best in me, she really does."