Japanese stars create incredible piece of tennis history at US Open

Out of the shadows Naomi Osaka hits a return to Aryna Sabalenka

Japan's Kei Nishikori advances to the semifinals of the US Open.

The next obstacle standing between Williams and a ninth trip to the final is rejuvenated Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in Thursday's first semi-final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, before Osaka faces 2017 runner-up Madison Keys.

Up next up for Osaka will be the victor of the evening match between 2017 runner-up Madison Keys, who at 14 is the highest seed left in the women's draw, and Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

Osaka had it much easier, continuing what's been a largely dominant run through the draw by winning in just 57 minutes, the third time in her five matches she didn't even have to play an hour.

"I needed that rest", said Djokovic, who finally gained the decisive break in the penultimate game of the final set then served it out at love.

Instead, it resembled their 2010 second-round match in Flushing Meadows, when Nishikori rallied to win in five sets in 4:59, the fifth-longest men's singles match by time in U.S. Open history.

This one lasted four hour and eight minutes and sent Nishikori into a showdown with No.6 seed Novak Djokovic or unseeded Australian John Millman.

"The quarters was sort of my mental goal, every time I played a Grand Slam", said Osaka.

This proved to be Nishikori's day, though, as he ground out a victory to mark a landmark moment for Japan after Naomi Osaka's win over Lesia Tsurenko earlier.

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"I think it's because of Kei", she said, holding her hands apart to show how much bigger Nishikori is in Japan, from where her family moved to NY when she was 3.

Naomi Osaka steamrolled past Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1 in the US Open quarter-final on Wednesday to enter her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY.

"I'm just trying to think if we've ever sat down and said, 'All right, look, what can we do to advantage American players when it comes to the court surface?' And I don't ever recall having that conversation in my 20 years here, " Brewer said.

Keys made it all the way through to the final previous year before she was stopped by fellow American Sloane Stephens at Flushing Meadows.

Keys and Suarez Navarro met three times previously, with Keys winning all three matches in three sets. "I was not feeling well", she said.

"I was freaking out inside and my whole body was shaking but overall I am most proud of not breaking a racquet".

But Nishikori broke Cilic in the final game, capturing the match with a blistering service return.

Tsurenko, who stunned Danish second seed Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, is still projected to rise 10 spots to a career-high 26th in the world rankings.

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