Groundbreaker Osaka feeling support, not pressure, from Japanese media

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Naomi Osaka insists she does not feel burdened by pressure as she looks to build on becoming Japan's first female US Open semi-finalist.

The 20-year-old, who was born in the city of Osaka to a Japanese mother and Haitian father before moving to the United States at the age of three, trounced an ailing Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1 on Wednesday to reach her maiden slam semi-final.

Kimiko Date was the last Japanese woman to make the last four of a grand slam, achieving the feat at Wimbledon in 1996.

Osaka's progress at Flushing Meadows - together with men's quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori - are naturally commanding significant attention from the Japanese media.

Yet Osaka said: "I don't really feel pressure from them. I feel a lot of support, and I'm really grateful about that. I feel a little bit like I'm used to it.

"It means a lot [to reach the semis], but for me I feel like I was much more emotional for the quarters. And then now I feel like it's sort of like business again.

"I always thought if I were to win a grand slam, the first one I'd want to win is the US Open, because I have grown up here and then my grandparents can come and watch. I think it would be really cool.

"But I'm not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I know I'm in a position that I can possibly do that, but I want to really think that I'm grateful to be in the position that I am in the first place, and I just want to take one point at a time."

As her opponent Tsurenko struggled with illness on Wednesday, Osaka appeared comfortable despite another day of oppressive heat in New York.

In her on-court interview, she prompted laughter by saying: "I actually don't think it's that hot.

"I think it's because I'm used to the Florida heat," Osaka added. "I actually enjoyed it."