World number one Ash Barty made serene progress to the fourth round of the Australian Open as Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams suffered shock exits.

Coco Gauff claimed another famous scalp in the form of defending champion Osaka to join Williams' conqueror Qiang Wang in the next round.

In a mixed day for the American contingent, Alison Riske and Sofia Kenin also went through, but Madison Keys was knocked out in straight sets.

Petra Kvitova was in commanding form as she progressed, while Caroline Wozniacki saw her career come to an end with defeat.

OSAKA DEFENCE ENDS AS SERENA WAIT GOES ON

Gauff got revenge for a rout at the hands of Osaka at the US Open last year to claim the biggest win of her fledgling career, seeing off the number three seed 6-3 6-4.

Beaten 6-3 6-0 in just 65 minutes at Flushing Meadows, 15-year-old Gauff made the most of 30 unforced errors from her opponent to set up a meeting with compatriot Kenin, who defeated Shuai Zhang 7-5 7-6 (9-7).

Williams' wait for a 24th grand slam singles title goes on, the American beaten in 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 by Wang in a gripping encounter.

The 38-year-old, who hit 56 unforced errors to Wang's 20, confessed afterwards: "I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today."

OMINOUS SIGNS FROM BARTY AND KVITOVA

There were no such concerns for Barty, who dispatched Elena Rybakina 6-3 6-2 in 78 minutes.

The home favourite will face Riske in the fourth round, the American outlasting Julia Goerges 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Last year's runner-up Petra Kvitova progressed in similarly imperious fashion, seeing off Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 6-2.

Kvitova, who is yet to drop a set at this year's event, will now face Maria Sakkari after her impressive 6-4 6-4 defeat of Keys.

 

TEARFUL WOZNIACKI BOWS OUT

Former world number one Wozniacki saw her career come to an end with a three-set defeat to Ons Jabeur.

The 2018 champion lost 7-5 3-6 7-5 to the Tunisian, who will play a fourth-round match at a major for the first time against Wang.

An emotional Wozniacki, who fought back from 3-0 down in the decider but was decisively broken in the 11th game, said afterwards: "I want to be out there fighting. I fought like my life depended on it."

Two-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka claimed she still does not have a "champion's mentality" following her stunning defeat to 15-year-old Coco Gauff at the Australian Open.

Osaka's defence of her Melbourne Park crown crumbled at the third-round stage amid a sea of unforced errors as she went down 6-3 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

American teenager Gauff appeared the more composed player throughout and Osaka conceded her fragile mindset was holding her back.

She said: "It was one of those days where I couldn't do anything right.

"I don't really have the champion mentality yet, which is someone that can deal with not playing 100 per cent. I have always wanted to be like that, but I guess I still have a long way to go.

"There are moments when you don't play 100 per cent and you still win the match because you don't have to play perfect to win sometimes.

"It's just something that I think some people are born with and some people have to [undergo] trials and stuff to get it."

Osaka described her life as "full of tests" and admitted she is sometimes "overwhelmed".

She added: "I feel like I get tested a lot, like life is just full of tests and unfortunately for me, my tests are tennis matches. So I just have to find a way to navigate through it.

"I feel like there are moments where I can handle them and then there are moments like this where I get overwhelmed and I don't really know what to do in the situation."

Osaka's misery and self-reflection was in stark contrast to Gauff who felt she had learned the lessons of her hammering at the hands of the same opponent at the 2019 US Open.

Asked what she had taken on board from that chastening New York experience, Gauff said: "Definitely the pace of her ball.

"She definitely plays faster than most players. I think at the US Open I wasn't really prepared for that. And today I definitely showed that I worked on that in the offseason."

Following their last meeting, Gauff broke down in tears and was consoled in moving scenes by Osaka.

And the youngster, who meets Sofia Kenin next, will always be grateful for the Japanese's considerate reaction.

"I'm forever thankful for that moment," she said.

"It was a great moment for me, but also the people watching. In sport, sometimes people think we're enemies, and we're not. Some of us are, but most of us, we're all friends.

"Obviously on the court, we take things intense, but a real athlete can absolutely hate you on the court, but off the court they're nice.

"That's what true champions are, and that's why she has two grand slams, because of her on-court personality and off-court personality."

This time there were no tears, no consoling embraces, no emotional speeches, it all seemed crushingly routine. And that was the most remarkable thing of all.

Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff breezed past defending champion Naomi Osaka and into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a ridiculously accomplished display on Friday.

The last time they met, at the 2019 US Open, Osaka was a 6-3 6-0 victor with the teenager's uncontrolled disappointment at the end met with compassion and grace by the Japanese.

This was no way to repay her, Gauff gaining ruthless revenge – winning 6-3 6-4 in just 67 minutes on Rod Laver Arena - to set up a clash with either Zhang Shuai or Sofia Kenin.

Osaka started well, her blazing groundstrokes threatening to overpower Gauff but the American gradually started to impose her game and, as she did, the errors started to increase from the other side of the net.

Three successive missed backhands handed Gauff a break and a 5-3 lead and, aided by two more mistakes from Osaka's backhand wing, she served it out to love.

Osaka's mental time-out continued at the start of the second, a wild forehand seeing her broken again.

But, finally, the third seed regrouped to hit back immediately and level at 1-1 and then move 2-1 up.

If there was a time for self-doubt it was now, but Gauff never wavered, her consistency from the back of the court in stark contrast to Osaka, who racked up 30 unforced errors in the match.

The majority came on the backhand and it broke down again as Gauff claimed the Osaka serve to edge 4-3 up.

Osaka did, at least, make Gauff serve it out but then handed her the win on a silver platter with another error-strewn game as the world number 67 powered through.

Ash Barty and Serena Williams moved through at the Australian Open as Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff set up a third-round showdown.

Home favourite and world number one Barty was untroubled on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, continuing her run in Melbourne.

Williams was below her best but still advanced during the night session as her bid for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title continued.

There is also the prospect of a mouthwatering showdown between two of the game's leading lights on Friday.

 

BARTY, SERENA UNTROUBLED

Barty brushed past Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1 6-4 in just 66 minutes on the back of a consistent performance.

The Australian mixed 16 winners – nine of those from the forehand side – with 16 unforced errors, setting up a clash with Kazakh 29th seed Elena Rybakina.

Williams was left frustrated during the second set of her 6-2 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek.

The American star was pushed before advancing in one hour, 18 minutes, having committed 28 unforced errors, including 17 in the second set.

Next up for Williams is Wang Qiang, the Chinese 27th seed having rushed past Fiona Ferro 6-1 6-2.

 

OSAKA, GAUFF SET UP BLOCKBUSTER CLASH

Osaka's title defence stayed alive with a 6-2 6-4 victory over China's Zheng Saisai.

The Japanese third seed faces her biggest test yet in the third round, where Gauff awaits after the teenager's comeback win.

Gauff looked set for an exit, trailing Sorana Cirstea 3-0 in the final set.

But the 15-year-old fought back to claim a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory and reach the third round at a grand slam for the third straight time.

Osaka crushed Gauff 6-3 6-0 when the pair met at last year's US Open.

 

WOZNIACKI STAYS ALIVE AS KVITOVA, KEYS ADVANCE

Caroline Wozniacki stretched her professional career for at least another match by beating Ukrainian 23rd seed Dayana Yastremska 7-5 7-5.

The 2018 Australian Open champion, who is retiring at the end of the tournament, came from 5-1 down in the first set and 3-0 behind in the second.

Last year's runner-up, Petra Kvitova, was tested in a 7-5 7-5 victory over Spain's Paula Badosa while Madison Keys also had moments of concern in her 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 win over Arantxa Rus.

Petra Martic (13) and Aryna Sabalenka (11) were among the seeds to fall, with the latter beaten by Carla Suarez Navarro in their opening-round clash.

Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka corrected an on-court interviewer over a mistake about the WTA's number one ranking. 

Osaka's title defence continued with a 6-2 6-4 win over Saisai Zheng in the second round at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

Seeded third for this year's opening grand slam but ranked fourth in the world, Osaka was dethroned as the WTA's number one by Ash Barty following the US Open.

When it was put to her that she could return to the top of the rankings with back-to-back Australian Open titles, Osaka - who has points to defend - looked on quizzically.

"Get through where to be number one in the world?," the confused Japanese star replied to the interviewer.

Top seed Barty has 8,017 points, well ahead of Osaka's 5,496.

Pressed again on the possibility of returning to the summit, Osaka said: "Oh really?

"No I thought because Ash [Barty] is like 2,000 points ahead of me and I have to defend this, that I'm going to drop out of the top 10 for real. OK that's good news for me... I guess."

Osaka overcame warm but breezy conditions to advance to the third round of the slam in Melbourne, not before her frustrations spilled over in the second set.

After dropping serve, Osaka dropped her racquet and kicked it before storming through to the next round.

"I definitely got very frustrated in the second set, and it's something that I knew would happen, but I didn't know the scale, like, what she would do to make me frustrated," Osaka told reporters in her post-match news conference.

"I think that I just really have to focus on knowing that I'm going to have really tough matches and I have to find a way to go around it and just be consistently level-headed."

Osaka added: "She was slicing and dicing and getting everything. I was, like, 'Can I just hit a winner already?' She was, like, 'No, I'm going to get everything'. That's basically what happened."

Defending champion Naomi Osaka sailed into the third round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Saisai Zheng. 

In warm but breezy conditions in Melbourne, third seed Osaka defeated China's Zheng 6-2 6-4 on Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday.

Japanese star Osaka will next face either teenage sensation Coco Gauff or Sorana Cirstea at Melbourne Park.

Osaka made a strong start in front of a healthy Japanese contingent, breaking in the second game for a 2-0 lead, only to be broken back immediately after firing a forehand long.

Zheng managed to get back on serve, however, consecutive double faults handed the break back to Osaka, whose power and precision helped wrap up the set in 34 minutes.

Osaka fended off two break points in the opening game of the second set, but Zheng continued to have her chances on the two-time grand slam champion's serve.

Zheng, who also saved a break point to hold for 1-1, finally broke at the fifth time of asking as she moved ahead 2-1.

The disciplined approach from Zheng frustrated Osaka, who threw and kicked her racquet before claiming the break back instantly. The pair traded breaks as Osaka's unforced errors grew, until the latter composed herself to see out the match after one hour, 20 minutes.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Naomi Osaka [3] bt Saisai Zheng 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Osaka – 20/30
Zheng – 7/20

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Osaka – 0/2
Zheng – 0/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Osaka – 6/12
Zheng – 3/7

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Osaka – 59
Zheng – 68

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Osaka – 63/50
Zheng – 50/29

TOTAL POINTS
Osaka – 61
Zheng – 46

World number one Ash Barty was relieved to come through the "chaos" of a first day of few shocks at the Australian Open.

Home favourite and top seed Barty had to come from a set down to progress in Melbourne, beating Lesia Tsurenko 5-7 6-1 6-1.

The Queenslander ensured she joined several other big names in advancing, with defending champion Naomi Osaka triumphing along with Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova - straight-sets winners over Anastasia Potapova and Katerina Siniakova respectively.

Venus Williams did not follow her sister into round two, though, as she fell to 15-year-old Coco Gauff once again.

Gauff had already beaten fellow American Williams at Wimbledon last year and pulled off a repeat on Monday.

Sloane Stephens crashed out 2-6 7-5 6-2 to Zhang Shuai, while Barbora Strycova lost to Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, but fellow seeds Petra Martic, Sofia Kenin and Ekaterina Alexandrova all advanced.

Caroline Wozniacki, who will retire at the end of the tournament, prolonged her career by easing past Kristie Ahn 6-1 6-3.


BARTY GETTING BETTER AT EACH SLAM

Barty won the French Open last season and feels she is improving with the experience of every major.

"It's always a little bit different, I think," she said. "Slams always feel like there's a lot of chaos going because there's so many people.

"It's busy with singles and doubles players, mixed players, families, coaches, everyone underneath. It's just chaos.

"When you're able to separate that from when you step on the court is when you can do a little bit better, play a little bit better, feel a little bit more comfortable.

"I feel like we've been able to do that better and better with each slam that I've played. It's an experience thing. You have to learn how to deal with it, but it's getting better."

Reflecting on her role as a home favourite and the top seed, Barty added: "I feel like I'm doing it the best way that I know how. I'm doing it with my team. We're doing it as a team.

"We're loving it. We're embracing it. There's no other way to approach it. I think we're just going along for the ride, trying to play some good tennis."


VENUS: THE SKY'S THE LIMIT FOR COCO

Seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams knows a thing or two about champions, and she expects new nemesis Gauff to go all the way to the top.

Asked if the teenager has a "champion's mentality", Williams replied: "She clearly wants it, works very hard, is extremely mature for her age. I think the sky's the limit for her."

The veteran was impressed by Gauff's mentality, adding: "She just played very focused and put a lot of balls in the court. That's what you have to do.

"She'll play well for the rest of the event."


WOZNIACKI 'TRYING TO ENJOY THE MOMENT'

Knowing her career is coming to an end, Wozniacki acknowledged she found it difficult to keep her emotions in check.

But the 2018 champion is determined to enjoy her final days at the top of the sport.

"I feel good, having won my first match here. It's always tricky, especially knowing it's my last tournament," she said. "There's a lot of just emotions, but I tried to keep them in check, and I thought I did that very well today.

"I think I'm just really trying to enjoy every moment. I don't know that there is one particular moment, but there is once in a while where you're like, 'Wow, this really is my last one'.

"You never know, it [could be] still two weeks from now. But every match you go out there, I'm just going to give it everything that I have, because it could be the last."

Naomi Osaka has found a happy place in Melbourne, saying it was strange how upbeat she was at the Australian Open.

Osaka was too good for Marie Bouzkova 6-2 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena on Monday, beginning her title defence with a comfortable win.

The 22-year-old Japanese star said it was unusual just how happy she was in Victoria's capital.

"For me it's really odd here. I just feel really happy," Osaka told a news conference.

"I don't really have this mentality of defending now. It's really weird. But I'm very thankful for it, because I think if I did go into the match with that, I would have been tense."

Osaka, who faces Zheng Saisai in the second round, revealed her dad watched her from the players' box for the first time at a grand slam during her victory over Bouzkova.

"He's just superstitious. Before when he used to sit in my box I would just look at him and complain a lot, but I have matured over the past three or four years he hasn't sat in my box," she said.

"He was like my coach during Tokyo and Beijing. He was sitting in my box the entire time. He has a good winning streak by sitting in my box."

Naomi Osaka started her Australian Open title defence with a straight-sets win over Marie Bouzkova on Monday.

Osaka was too strong for Bouzkova in a 6-2 6-4 win on Rod Laver Arena in the first meeting between the pair.

The Japanese star was the aggressor throughout and her ability to take her chances proved crucial against Czech Bouzkova.

Osaka, 22, has never lost in the opening round in Melbourne and the third seed will face Zheng Saisai next.

The two-time grand slam champion was tested early before breaking in the fifth game of the first set.

Osaka went on a run of five straight games to finish the first set, but Bouzkova found hope by taking a 4-2 lead in the second.

However, Osaka stepped up again, breaking back and winning the last four games to advance.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Naomi Osaka [3] bt Marie Bouzkova 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Osaka – 29/28
Bouzkova – 12/13

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Osaka – 7/2
Bouzkova – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Osaka – 4/9
Bouzkova – 1/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Osaka – 70
Bouzkova – 51

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Osaka – 74/53
Bouzkova – 66/43

TOTAL POINTS
Osaka – 64
Bouzkova – 49

The 108th edition of the Australian Open begins on Monday as the world's best tennis players battle it out at the first grand slam of 2020.

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will return to defend the titles they won last year, adding to the event's storied history.

The pair will face stiff competition from stacked fields in the men's and women's draw as a host of players seek glory in Melbourne.

To whet your appetite for the forthcoming feast of tennis, here is a selection of the best Opta facts related to the Australian Open.

 

- The last three years have seen the 12 women's grand slam tournaments being won by 10 different players; only Simona Halep and Osaka have won twice in that span.

- Djokovic won his seventh Australian Open title in 2019, the most of any male player in the history of the tournament. He has won the event every time he has reached the semi-finals.

- Of the last 14 editions of the Australian Open, 12 have been won by either Djokovic (7) or Roger Federer (5) – Rafael Nadal (2009) and Stan Wawrinka (2014) are the only other winners in that period.

- Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013), Serena Williams (2009, 2010) and Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002) are the only women to have won successive titles at the Australian Open since 2000.

- Federer won his sixth Australian Open title in 2018, 14 years after his first win at the event; no player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open Era. It is his last win in a grand slam tournament to date.

- Since 2005 only Williams (2010, 2015) and Azarenka (2013) have won the title at the Australian Open as the number one ranked player in the world.

- Williams has not won any of the last 11 grand slams, with her last victory coming at the Australian Open in 2017 when she was pregnant – this is the American's longest span without a major title.

- Petra Kvitova lost in the final of the Australian Open last year, the only time she went further than the quarter-finals in her last 19 grand slam appearances, since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

- Either Nadal or Andy Murray has been the runner-up in nine of the last 10 Australian Open men's finals, Murray losing five times and Nadal four. Marin Cilic in 2018 is the only other player to lose an Australian Open final in that span.

- The last time an Australian made it to the men's final at the Australian Open was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the last Australian to win the title was Mark Edmondson in 1976 (against fellow Australian John Newcombe).

Naomi Osaka believes she is not as fearless as last year as she prepares for her Australian Open title defence.

The Japanese star claimed her second grand slam title in Melbourne in 2019, backing up her US Open success from just months prior.

But the 22-year-old, seemingly more aware of what was at stake, said she felt more fearless last year.

"I feel like last year I was young. Last year I feel like I was young. I was just this young kid that was going out. My goal was to win, and I wasn't going to let anything stop me," Osaka told a news conference on Saturday.

"I feel like now I appreciate more every single win because I know what it took to get it.

"Of course, I want to win every match and I want to go out there and do that. That's what I'm here for.

"I think maybe last year I was a little bit more fearless."

Osaka, the world number three, is again among the favourites and faces Marie Bouzkova in her first-round match.

Ashleigh Barty, the world's top-ranked player, is also expected to challenge and Osaka praised the Australian while talking down suggestions of a rivalry with a player she has met three times since the start of 2018.

"It's super weird. People keep asking me questions like we're rivals or something. She's in the finals of Adelaide right now," she said.

"I think obviously she's a great player. She's the number one ranked player in the world. I don't know, we've played really close matches."

Defending champion Novak Djokovic could meet Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, while Venus Williams has again been pitted against Coco Gauff.

Gauff produced one of 2019's most remarkable results when she beat five-time Wimbledon champion Williams in the first round at the All England club, and the 15-year-old will again face her compatriot in the opening round of 2020's first major.

Serena Williams starts her latest quest for a 24th grand slam singles title against another teenager, Anastasia Potapova, and she could be on for a quarter-final against defending champion Naomi Osaka, who plays Marie Bouzkova in round one.

Ashleigh Barty, who heads into her home slam at the top of the WTA rankings, begins her campaign against Lesia Tsurenko and could meet last year's runner-up Petra Kvitova in the last eight.

Fourth seed Simona Halep takes on Jennifer Brady in round one, with Maria Sharapova facing a difficult opener against Donna Vekic and second seed Karolina Pliskova meeting Kristina Mladenovic.

World number two Djokovic faces a tough start to his title defence in Melbourne against Jan-Lennard Struff, who climbed 20 places in the ATP rankings between January 2019 and this year.

Federer, seeking his 21st grand slam title and seventh in Australia, begins against American Steve Johnson and could face a round-of-16 match with Grigor Dimitrov, who won their last meeting at the quarter-final stage of the US Open.

Djokovic is on course to meet Federer in the semis but Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has beaten the Serbian twice in four meetings, may lie in wait first at the quarter-final stage.

World number one Rafael Nadal meets Hugo Dellien in the first round and could face home favourite Nick Kyrgios in round four.

Dominic Thiem could await Nadal in the quarter-finals, the Austrian beginning his quest for a maiden grand slam triumph against Adrian Mannarino.

World number four Daniil Medvedev has a difficult opening match against Frances Tiafoe, with Alexander Zverev a possible last-eight opponent.

Serena Williams was in brilliant form to reach the Auckland Open final, while Karolina Pliskova saved a match point to beat Naomi Osaka in a thrilling Brisbane International semi.

Williams needed just 44 minutes to crush 18-year-old Amanda Anisimova 6-1 6-1 in their last four clash at the WTA International tournament in New Zealand.

The 23-time grand slam champion mixed 17 winners with six unforced errors and lost just nine points on serve. Williams served five aces and converted all five of her break points in a dominant display in the lead up to the year's first grand slam in Melbourne.

The American moved into her 98th WTA Tour final and will be aiming for a 73rd title but first since the 2017 Australian Open when she faces Jessica Pegula.

Pegula upset fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki 3-6 6-4 6-0 in their semi-final.

A two-time runner-up, Wozniacki – who will retire after the 2020 Australian Open – won just 10 points in the third set.

Wozniacki will contest the doubles final with Williams against Taylor Townsend and Asia Muhammad.

In Brisbane, Pliskova lost a first set on a tie-break in which she squandered two set points and saved four, and was staring down the barrel after Osaka broke for a 6-5 lead in the second.

However, Osaka's first serve on match point was overly tentative and a series of errors handed Pliskova the break back. The second seed took full advantage, winning the subsequent tie-break and taking the decider in comfortable fashion to defeat the reigning Australian Open champion 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Earlier, Madison Keys rallied past Petra Kvitova to clinch a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory, meaning there will be no all-Czech final in Queensland.

At the Shenzhen Open, Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova clinched her maiden WTA Tour title with a 6-2 6-4 win over Elena Rybakina in the final.

Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki teamed up to reach the Auckland Classic doubles final after making the final four in the singles, while Naomi Osaka will challenge Karolina Pliskova for the number two ranking in Brisbane.

Williams and Wozniacki, playing as a pair for the first time, beat the top seeds in the quarter-finals and saved five set points in their opening set against Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck before sealing a 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 victory to advance to the final.

They will play the winners of Saturday's all-American clash that sees Coco Gauff and Caty McNally take on Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend.

Earlier on Friday, Williams came from a break down in the second set to beat Laura Siegemund 6-4 6-3 and book an exciting semi-final against Amanda Anisimova, a 6-2 3-6 6-4 winner against wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.

Asked if she felt in good shape ahead of the Australian Open, Williams said: "I definitely feel that, and I feel like my match yesterday [against Christina McHale] was great.

"It's great that I went three sets, and it's great that I ran so much. I came out today just overall feeling better and doing better.

"Especially the match fitness – I'm super fit, but match fitness is a little different, so I think all these matches are really helping."

Wozniacki will face Jessica Pegula, who progressed when Alize Cornet retired at 6-0 3-2 down, after a routine 6-1 6-4 victory over defending champion Julia Goerges.

Osaka can improve her seeding ahead of the Australian Open if she makes the final at the Brisbane International, and standing in her way is her direct rival in world number two Pliskova.

Two-time major winner Osaka – ranked fourth in the world – had to fend off five break points to close out a 6-3 3-6 6-3 triumph over Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals.

Reigning champion Pliskova lies in wait in the last four, though she had to stave off two set points in the first before winning 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 against Alison Riske. Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys will contest the other semi-final.

Garbine Muguruza was unable to kick off 2020 with a final appearance as she lost 6-4 6-3 to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semi-finals of the Shenzhen Open.

Elena Rybakina, who beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-2 7-5, stands between Alexandrova and a first singles title on the WTA Tour.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka each came from a set down as they geared up their respective Australian Open preparations at the Auckland Classic and the Brisbane International.

Williams needed two hours to overcome compatriot Christina McHale 3-6 6-2 6-3 amid blustery conditions, dropping four of the first five games before hitting her stride.

"I got myself in a hole and I was able to get out of it, so that was satisfying," said Williams, who will face Laura Siegemund in the quarter-finals after the experienced German similarly beat Coco Gauff in three sets.

"I just got mad, and honestly, I said that I wanted to win more than one match here in New Zealand. I thought about that and sometimes it's the craziest things that get you motivated." 

Caroline Wozniacki, who is into the doubles semi-finals as Williams' partner in Auckland, came through a topsy-turvy encounter to beat Lauren Davis 6-1 4-6 6-4.

A dominant opening set from Wozniacki, where Davis was unable to hold serve, was not indicative of the absorbing back-and-forth that followed.

"I got a little lucky in the end and it could have gone both ways," the 29-year-old, who will retire after Melbourne, said.

Julia Goerges is up next for Wozniacki and enjoyed a more straightforward 6-3 6-2 win over Jil Teichmann.

World number one Ash Barty's first singles match of 2020 ended with American qualifier Jennifer Brady prevailing 6-4 7-6 (7-4) at the Brisbane International, where Osaka was facing a similar fate after dropping a tie-break in the opener of her match against Sofia Kenin.

The defending Australian Open champion stormed back to take the contest 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-1 and will face Kiki Bertens – a 6-3 2-6 7-5 winner over Anett Kontaveit.

Petra Kvitova made light work of Liudmila Samsonova, dropping only five games in a straight-sets victory, while number two seed Karolina Pliskova sowed more disappointment for the home crowd by beating Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 to set up a quarter-final against Alison Riske.

Pliskova's twin Kristyna rounded out the quarter-final action at the Shenzhen Open with a 6-4 6-4 win against Kateryna Bondarenko.

She will face Elena Rybakina, who beat third seed Elise Mertens 6-4 4-6 6-2, while Garbine Muguruza and Ekaterina Alexandrova came through three-setters against Zarina Diyas and Wang Qiang respectively to reach the other semi-final.

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