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Japan's Osaka and Nishikori make it to US Open semi-finals

media Men's singles semi-finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and women's singles semi-finalist Naomi Osaka of Japan pose for a portrait outside The Kitano Hotel following their quarter-final matches at then 2018 US Open at The Kitano Hotel on September 5, 2018 Alex Pantling / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka made history by both reaching the US Open semi-finals, the first time Japanese players got so high in both singles competitions during a Grand Slam. Osaka is the first Japanese woman to get into the top four of the US Open, the last time it happened in a Grand Slam was in 1996, when Kimiko Date got to the quarter-finals at Wimbleton

Osaka beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1. Afterwards the 20-year old speculated about what it would be like to win: “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 [in the United States] and then my grandparents can come and watch.”

She plays against Madison Keys from the US on Thursday. She has ambitions of winning, but says she is not putting too much pressure on herself.

“I know I'm in a position that I can possibly [be number one] 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,” she said. “I know that the players that are at this final stages of the tournament, they're really good. I know that everyone wants to win this tournament.”

An understatement, as the other quarter-final match involves Serena Williams, who has won the US Open six times.

She faces Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, after winning Wednesday against Czech Karolia Pliskova, 6-4, 6-3, barely breaking a sweat, despite the sweltering conditions.

In the men’s competition, Kei Nishikori pulled off a tight five-set victory against Marin Cilic. He will go to the semi-finals against Novak Djokovic who managed to win against Australian John Milman, 6-3 6-4 6-4, also despite the heat and humidity.

Millman is used to the heat, but he actually left the court to change his clothes in the second match, when the score was even, 2-2. He said he could not put the ball in his pocket because his shorts were soaked with sweat.

The US Tennis Association said they allowed this because Millman was sweating so much that he was making the floor dangerous to play on.

“I'm not normally like the biggest sweater. But I don't know. I was really sweating,” Millman told reporters after the match. “The conditions are really tough. I think you can see that with everyone. Everyone's struggling a little bit.”

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