Osaka rallies past Bencic to reach Miami Open final
MIAMI (AFP) - Japan's Naomi Osaka advanced to the WTA Miami Open final by rallying to defeat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday (March 31).
Bencic had won three of her four prior matches against the four-time Grand Slam champion, but Osaka fought back to reach her first final on the Miami hardcourts.
Neither player had dropped a set before the match but Bencic was impressive in opening exchanges to quickly put Osaka on the backfoot.
"I didn't feel like I figured her out at all and somehow I managed to win," Osaka said.
"She's an amazing player. I wish I had her return."
Osaka, 24, will face either American Jessica Pegula or new world number one Iga Swiatek of Poland.
Osaka, who left Indian Wells in tears after being heckled by a fan, was similarly emotional at the end on Thursday, but in a happier way.
"I just wanted to say thanks to everyone. The atmosphere was really good," Osaka told spectators after the match.
"Damn, I'm always crying, but this tournament means a lot to me."