Osaka denied in Brisbane semi by unseeded Ukrainian
WORLD No.27 Lesia Tsurenko has recorded a convincing upset victory over an out-of-sorts Naomi Osaka to reach the Brisbane International final.
The unseeded Ukranian dominated from the outset on Saturday, breaking the Japanese second seed and US Open champion in the first game of each set to win 6-2 6-4 at Pat Rafter Arena.
Osaka made 12 unforced errors to Tsurenko's six in the first set and was broken for a second time at 4-2 despite fighting back from 15-40.
The world No.5's resistance copped a further blow when she doubled-faulted to hand Tsurenko the advantage at the beginning of the second.
At 3-2, an increasingly frustrated Osaka then failed to take advantage of two break points.
Tsurenko brought up two match points three games later, but was held off when her 21-year-old opponent hit three aces and a drop-shot winner to hold.
Any hopes of Osaka repeating her quarter-final performance, when she fought back from a set down against eighth-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, were snuffed out in the next game.
Tsurenko ultimately blasted 20 winners to claim victory in 66 minutes and go one better than her semi-final appearance in Brisbane in 2013.
She will face former champion Karolina Pliskova or 34th ranked Donna Vekic in the final on Sunday as she bids for a fifth WTA title.