Miami – Naomi Osaka's 23-match winning streak came to a halt Wednesday, as the world No. 2 was stunned by Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.
Daniil Medvedev, the top-seeded man, was also upset and knocked out of the tournament.
Osaka, playing her first event since winning her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, won just eight points in the first set as she failed to muster a single winner.
Osaka broke in the second game of the second set and seized a 3-0 lead before Sakkari roared back to secure a semifinal spot in the prestigious hardcourt tournament.
The loss ended Osaka's chance to overtake No. 1 seed Australian Ash Barty at the top of the world rankings this week, a fact she acknowledged may have put more pressure on her during the match against the 25th-ranked Sakkari.
"It's hard to say," Osaka said of whether that made a difference.
"The last time I was in this (news conference) seat, I wasn't really thinking at all about rankings, but someone asked me that question, so then I did start to ponder about it a lot.
"So maybe, unwillingly, that put pressure on myself. But I feel like even if it did, I should be able to rise above that."
Osaka hadn't dropped a set at love since her last defeat, which came in a Fed Cup match in February 2020.
"She has the most wins so far this year so she's in great form — it meant a lot to me," said Sakkari, who let out a scream of delight after the final point.
"To be deadly honest, I got a little tight in the first two games of the second set," Sakkari said. "I stayed within myself and started fighting back, hitting a few more balls and winning a few points against her."
Sakkari will face eighth-seeded Canadian Bianca Andreescu for a place in the final.
Andreescu, ranked No. 9 in the world, clawed out a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over tenacious 58th-ranked Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, is trying to work her way back after a 15-month absence due to injury. She broke Sorribes in the final game of the opening set, which started a run of eight straight service breaks.
Andreescu was irked by a time violation early in the second set, in which Sorribes held serve for the only time in the set for a 5-3 lead — enough of an edge to allow her to pull even in the match.
Up a break at 3-2 in the third, Andreescu saved three break points to hold, and broke Sorribes again before dropping her own serve. She finally sealed it with a stinging backhand down the line on her second match point.
On the men's side of the draw, seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut beat Medvedev 6-4, 6-2, for his third win in as many meetings against the Russian, who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open and rose to No. 2 in the world rankings with his victory in Marseille, France, in March.
Bautista booked a semifinal showdown against 19-year-old Italian Jannick Sinner, who beat Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Bautista went into his clash with Medvedev with confidence from the two prior victories and had the winning formula again.
"I want to give Daniil all the credit, I know he is one of the best players in the world," Bautista said. "He's been winning a lot of matches, he's No. 2 in the world, so I'm very happy and proud about how I played today. I think I showed a great level on the court."
The Spaniard gained the first break of a tense opening set for a 5-4 lead, then saved a break point to pocket the set on his second opportunity.
He broke Medvedev to open the second set, and the Russian never found a way back.
Bautista served out the match with a love game after one hour and 32 minutes.
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