January 5, 2019 / 1:42 PM / in 2 months

Tennis: Tsurenko stuns Osaka in Brisbane to book Pliskova final

(Reuters) - Japan’s Naomi Osaka lamented her poor attitude following a straight sets thrashing by Lesia Tsurenko in the Brisbane International semi-finals on Saturday but the U.S. Open winner said defeat came with a valuable lesson.

Tennis - Brisbane International - Women's Semi Finals - Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, Australia, January 5, 2019 Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in action during her match against Japan's Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Patrick Hamilton

World number five Osaka was beaten 6-2 6-4 in 65 minutes by Latvia’s Tsurenko, who comfortably broke her opponent’s serve four times en route to the biggest final of her career.

Tsurenko faces 2017 champion and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, who thumped Donna Vekic 6-3 6-4.

“If I’m being really frank, I just feel like I had the worst attitude today. I feel like I didn’t really know how to cope with not playing well,” Osaka said.

“I was sulking a bit and there are moments that I tried not to do that. But then the ball wouldn’t go in and then I would go back to being childish. So I think that was my main problem.

“Last year I did a lot of that and I’m trying to change it more, and I think I have, towards the end of last year. So hopefully this isn’t a recurring thing.”

Osaka, who withdrew from next week’s Sydney International, said Saturday’s experience was better than winning in Brisbane as she gears up for the Australian Open later this month.

“This helpless feeling I have, I think today I learned what I have to do to, not fix it, but what I can do to improve the situation so there aren’t many moments that I feel like that,” the Japanese added.

Osaka’s compatriot Kei Nishikori closed in on his first ATP title in nearly three years, beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2 6-2 to move into the title clash.

“Nothing better than this today,” Nishikori, who last won a trophy in Memphis in Feb. 2016, said. “I felt like I was too fast on the court today... Tomorrow I will go for a trophy.”

Standing in his way is Russia’s Daniil Medvedev who powered past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(6) 6-2.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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