Brisbane, January 3: Japanese star Naomi Osaka said her US Open victory in September had given her the self-belief to be able to come from behind and win tight matches.
Osaka was speaking after recovering from losing the first set of her Brisbane International quarter-final to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova on Thursday.
The world number five overhauled Sevastova to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the season-opening tournament.
“I feel like right now I’m really confident in myself, and I feel like the off-season training that I’ve been doing is really paying off,” she said.
“And I’m not sure if I would have had the same feeling six months ago. Six months ago I hadn’t won the US Open.”
Osaka’s stunning victory over Serena Williams at New York’s Flushing Meadows in September sent her profile into the stratosphere, although her breakthrough win was partially overshadowed by Williams’ furious tirade against the umpire.
Osaka dropped her opening service game in Brisbane on Thursday, and that was enough to surrender the first set to Sevastova.
But Osaka came storming back to win the second with the loss of just five points. (AFP)