BNP Paribas Open: Naomi Osaka whitewashes Simona Halep to advance to the final

Who would have thought?

The 20-year-old unseeded Japanese, Naomi Osaka has had one hell of a dream run in the California desert, dropping just a set en route to the final.

On Saturday, Osaka put up an absolutely brilliant performance to claim a comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory in 63 minutes over world number one Simona Halep to reach the biggest final of her career.

That astounding win over the Romanian was her fourth career victory over a top-10 player and her second this week after beating world number five Pliskova in the last eight.

“I feel like there is a new generation and we are trying to push through,” said Osaka.

On her loss, Halep said: “I just was not ready. I missed the ball a lot and I didn’t play what I had to play. I don’t find excuses. She was better.”

Osaka will face Daria Kasatkina in the final. Russia’s Kasatkina had earlier caused an upset when she outlasted Venus Williams in nearly three hours as she claimed a 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory to book her final spot.

“[After a] match like this, you’re just speechless,” she said. “After, I was just, like, ‘Aaaaah, okay, that was pretty nice’. Too many emotions and you cannot explain everything.”

Daria Kasatkina reacts during her match at the BNP Paribas Open

Kasatkina has had an extraordinary run of success in Indian Wells. En route to the final, in consecutive rounds she defeated Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and now Venus Williams – all Grand Slam champions.

And so the final will be contested by two 20-year-olds. Osaka’s thrilling potential has burst into the open with wins over Maria Sharapova,  Agnieszka Radwanska, Karoline Pliskova and now Halep.

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