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Tennis: Osaka focused on flaws despite 6-0, 6-0 win over Sasnovich

Naomi Osaka says she still needs to improve her game despite breezing into the last 16 of the U.S. Open with a virtually flawless victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus on Saturday.

The Japanese 20-year-old said she had yet to play the best tennis of her career after making just three unforced errors in a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of her third-round opponent.

«I feel like I can always do something better. I feel like that’s one really good thing about me but also something negative, because I’m never satisfied,» Osaka said.

The match started competitively, with Osaka defending four break points in the opening game, but the world No. 19 quickly took control against her 33rd-ranked opponent.

Osaka, who claimed her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open in March, said she had worked to overcome a tendency to lose focus after jumping into early leads.

«If I would go up 3-0 then…I would relax a lot and I let (my opponent) come back into the match, so I think for me, now that I’m able to beat people at easier scores like this, I think I’ve improved a lot,» she said.

Having reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time, Osaka said she was not looking beyond her fourth-round match against world No. 20 Aryna Sabalenka, also from Belarus.

«I don’t really look at the draw, so I don’t even really know who I’m playing or anything. I think now I’m just trying to focus on one match at a time. I mean, I enter the tournament to win, but it’s not an immediate goal,» she said.

In the men’s draw, compatriot Kei Nishikori also reached the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 upset of 13th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

World No. 19 Nishikori, who reached the final of the tournament in 2014, fought his way back from 0-3 in the first set to win six of the next seven games.

After conceding the third set, Nishikori converted breaks in the first, fifth and seventh games of the fourth set to seal the match.

«It was a difficult match against a tough opponent. I was also a bit stiff at the start, so I wasn’t playing the way I wanted. I got through it though and was eventually able to play some nice tennis,» the 28-year-old Nishikori said.

The former World No. 4 will face veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final 16. He is unbeaten against the German in two previous meetings.

All — Kyodo News+

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