Osaka, who made headlines when she knocked Angelique Kerber out of the U.S. Open in the first round last month, continued in the same vein at the start of the second set and raced out to a 5-0 lead.
Osaka reeled off eight consecutive games at one stage on her way to a 7-5, 6-2 victory that sent her into the quarterfinals. It all seemed to be going to plan for Williams when she broke the 19-year-old Osaka in the fifth game of the opening set. But then Williams’ first serve deserted her when serving for the set at 5-4.
.@Naomi_Osaka_ sets @HKTennisOpen Quarterfinal vs @NastiaPav!
Teenager topples No.2 seed Williams 7-5, 6-2! pic.twitter.com/TPfb3ZTAbX
— WTA (@WTA) October 11, 2017
“She played well,” a disappointed Williams told reporters. “You know, I made a few errors at 5-4 and after that she played pretty flawless. I can only give her credit.”
The 19-year-old next faces sixth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Jacqueline Cako 7-6 (7/3) 6-1, while seventh seed Daria Gavrilova was a 6-1 2-6 6-2 winner over Shelby Rogers.
“Venus is someone I’ve respected and admired,” said Osaka, who had not been born when Williams reached her first Grand Slam final, at the 1997 US Open.
“I’ve grown up watching her. Even though she someone I admire, it’s just another opponent at the end of the day so I tried to focus.”
Today I accomplished one of my dreams ❤️❤️❤️
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@Naomi_Osaka_) October 11, 2017