‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands — Naomi Osaka advanced to her second quarterfinal of the season and first on grass courts since 2018 after defeating The Netherlands’ Suzan Lamens 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of the Libema Open.

‘s-Hertogenbosch: Draws | Schedule | Scores

Coming off an outstanding opening-round win over Elise Mertens, Osaka continued her confident start to the grass season to blow past Lamens in 54 minutes. Despite serving at just 39 percent, Osaka landed nine aces and did not face a break point in the match. She finished with 21 winners to 13 unforced errors, converting four of five break-point opportunities.

“Strangely, I think grass may be more physical than clay for me,” Osaka said. “That’s in terms of, once you’re in the corner you have to have the strength to get out of the corner of the point is basically over with, and that’s where I fell very confident. Maybe that’s translating in my playing.”

Osaka’s victory sets up a marquee quarterfinal match-up against Bianca Andreescu. Friday’s showdown will pit the 2018 US Open champion against the 2019 US Open champion in just the second career meeting between the two. It will be Osaka’s first quarterfinal since the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in February and her first on grass since 2018 Nottingham.

Osaka won the only prior meeting against Andreescu, which came in the 2019 China Open quarterfinals. Reigning Australian Open champion Osaka came from a set down to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to end the reigning US Open champion’s 17-match win streak. She went on to defeat No.1 Ashleigh Barty, who had picked up her first major title at Roland Garros that year, for the title.

“I remember and I know this for a fact, that she’s a great player,” Osaka said. “It feels really cool that we’re playing again this year. I know we’re both trying to come back and we’re almost kind of back, so this is really fun.

“I anticipate a really difficult match. She’s a player, to me, who’s really fun to play against because she can change anything in the match, like her play style or where she stands.”

Rivalry Rewind: Osaka bests Andreescu in 2019 Beijing quarterfinals

In just her second tournament back from a nine-month injury layoff, Andreescu has advanced to her first Hologic WTA Tour quarterfinal in over a year and first on grass since 2022. Andreescu eased past Yuan Yue in straight sets on Wednesday to set her upcoming meeting with Osaka.

“We’ve had, in a way, similar careers,” Andreescu said. “It’s not the same, but we won at a very young age and then had a break here and a break there. Being back on court with her, I think it’s great for tennis. And also being role models because we didn’t have a linear career like, say, Iga [Swiatek].

“Hopefully that motivates and inspires other people too. We can show that we’re also happy when we’re not winning, because tennis is just tennis, but then there’s this whole other life that we can discover. I feel like we’re both at that level and it’s nice to see.”

A victory over Andreescu would put Osaka into her first semifinal of the season and on the verge of a return to the Top 100. It would be a big boost of confidence for the four-time major champion, who played one of the best matches of her career at Roland Garros two weeks ago, where she had match point on eventual champion Iga Swiatek. Her ability to channel her best tennis when facing other major champions has been a competitive hallmark of her career.

She’s hoping that instinct comes through against Andreescu.

“I definitely think matches like that help my growth a lot,” Osaka said. “It’s really weird because I reflect on the Iga match and, for me, it’s kind of crazy because I’m not sure I knew that I could play at that level. I always felt like it was in me, but I guess I needed that specific occasion to bring it out.

“So yeah, matches like these against Bianca are what I love, what I train for, and hopefully it makes everyone else as excited.”

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/4037202/-it-s-going-to-be-fun-osaka-sets-andreescu-showdown-in-den-bosch

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