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Osaka beats Bencic, bursts into Miami Open Final

Four-times Grand Slam winner, Naomi Osaka fired off 18 aces as the Japanese former world No 1 beat Swiss Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-3 6-4 on Thursday to reach her first Miami Open final.

The former World No.1 will next face either American Jessica Pegula or Poland’s second seed Iga Swiatek.

Naomi conceded only two first-serve points in the first set but was unable to convert when it counted as Olympic champion Bencic saved a pair of breakpoints in the second game.

Osaka, who had not dropped a set in the tournament, then lost her serve in the third game and again in the fifth.

Osaka said ‘She had a really amazing service return – there were times I thought that I hit great serves but she just hit winners,’ .

(I was) just battling my inner thoughts and trying to know that I must play one point at a time and, you know, adjust if I have to but try not to overwhelm myself with my thoughts.’

‘I feel like if I was negative for a split second I would have lost the match today,’ said Osaka, who will play in her fourth WTA 1000 showpiece match on Saturday.

‘I have to keep pumping myself up and I haven’t played as many matches as a lot of these other players so I just have to keep learning.’

Editing by Omotola Oguneye