US Open win has given me self-belief: Osaka
Japanese star comes from one set down to beat Latvian opponent in Brisbane
Japanese star Naomi Osaka said her US Open victory in September had given her the self-belief to be able to come from behind and win tight matches.
Osaka was speaking after recovering from losing the first set of her Brisbane International quarter-final to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova yesterday.
The world No. 5 overhauled Sevastova to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the season-opening tournament.
"I feel like right now I'm really confident in myself, and I feel like the off-season training that I've been doing is really paying off," she said.
"And I'm not sure if I would have had the same feeling six months ago. Six months ago, I hadn't won the US Open."
Osaka's stunning victory over Serena Williams at New York's Flushing Meadows in September sent her profile into the stratosphere, although her breakthrough win was partially overshadowed by Williams' furious tirade against the umpire.
Osaka will now play Lesia Tsurenko in the semi-finals after the Ukrainian beat Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 7-5, 6-3. With the shock loss of defending champion Elina Svitolina on Wednesday, Osaka is now the firm favourite for the title.
Meanwhile, Williams completed a clean sweep of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth, as she prepares for the Australian Open.
The winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Williams prevailed 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) over young Briton Katie Boulter in the United States' final group tie to make it three victories from as many outings.
However, her perfect singles record this week wasn't enough to keep the US in contention at what is expected to be the last Hopman Cup, where she has twice been a winner.
Williams and Frances Tiafoe were already eliminated after losing their opening two ties.
But Roger Federer ensured Switzerland would have the chance to retain their title with a 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4) win over Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The win in his men's singles match gave the Swiss a 1-0 lead in their Group B encounter, but also meant they were guaranteed a spot in tomorrow's final despite eventually losing the tie.
In the women's singles, Maria Sakkari levelled the tie with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic, before the Greeks won the deciding mixed doubles 4-3 (5-4), 2-4, 4-3 (5-3). - AFP
George pumps in 37 points in Thunder win
Paul George scored 37 points to lead the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 107-100 win against the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday morning (Singapore time).
George, who picked up three fouls in the first 3:12 of the first quarter, scored 20 points in the second half.
Russell Westbrook finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his NBA-leading 11th triple-double, but he shot 3-for-20 from the floor. Westbrook, who shot 38.6 per cent last month, missed his first seven field-goal attempts.
Steven Adams had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Jerami Grant scored 13 for the Thunder, who have won three of four.
Lakers reserve Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who came in averaging 9.8 points, scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half. He scored a season-high 26 in a 121-114 win on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings. - REUTERS
Charlotte Hornets 84 Dallas Mavericks 122,
Boston Celtics 115 Minnesota Timberwolves 102,
Phoenix Suns 127 Philadelphia 76ers 132.