The 20-year-old is competing at her first event
since winning her debut Grand Slam earlier this month and looks
to have brought her New York form home with her as she has yet
to drop a set so far in Tokyo.
Osaka proved too powerful for Strycova from the off, storming
into a 4-1 lead in the first set with a dominant service game,
while her forehand was too strong for the world number 25 to
Despite some crafty defense from Strycova to stay in the
contest, the result never appeared in doubt as Osaka won easily
in one hour and 35 minutes.
The Czech beat Osaka when the two met three years ago in Tokyo
but Japanís first ever Grand Slam winner is a very different
proposition now and Fridayís win was her ninth in a row.
Osaka will face Italian Camila Giorgi in the semis on Saturday
after Victoria Azarenka was forced to retire injured in their
quarter-final contest with Giorgi leading 5-3 in the first set.
Osaka and Giorgi have never faced each other before in WTA
Earlier in the day, fans at the Tachikawa Tachihi Arena were
treated to a marathon contest that saw Karolina Pliskova defeat
Alison Riske, the conqueror of two-time Grand Slam winner
Garbine Muguruza earlier in the tournament, 6-1 6-7(5) 7-6(4)
after over two and a half hours of play.
Pliskova, who went out in the quarter-finals in Tokyo last year,
twice came from a break down and saved two match points in a
thrilling final set to outlast the American qualifier and set up
a semi-final meeting with Donna Vekic.
Croatian Vekic shocked world number four and second seed
Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-4 to continue her unlikely run at this
The unseeded 22-year-old broke Garcia five times on route to a
comfortable victory, her first over the Frenchwoman.
Vekic is hoping to secure her first ever WTA Premier level title
in Tokyo, while former number one Pliskova is looking to reach
her second final of the year.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Toby Davis)
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