Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka on Friday dispatched Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Pan Pacific Open semi-finals, despite not being at her best.
The third seed, who stunned Serena Williams to capture the US Open title earlier this month, failed to hit the same heights she did on that historic night in New York.
But she still had too much firepower for Strycova in Tokyo, advancing to face either Italy’s Camila Giorgi or former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the last four.
Eighth seed Strycova had little answer to her opponent’s venomous hitting and the world number seven bagged the first set with a sledgehammer forehand that almost tore the racquet from the Czech’s hand.
The 20-year-old Osaka, contesting her first tournament since becoming Japan’s first Grand Slam singles winner, never looked back against a player 12 years her senior, another forehand rocket bringing up a first match point.
Strycova saved that one but moments later, Osaka fired a bruising serve into the body to extend her current winning streak to nine matches.