MELBOURNE, Australia — Naomi Osaka smashed her racket into the court after losing the first set. She tumbled to the court after tripping in the second.
Osaka, the United States Open champion, recovered each time and avoided slipping out of the Australian Open on Saturday with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Hsieh Su-wei.
The fourth-seeded Osaka received a warning from the umpire when she spiked her racket after Hsieh, the 28th seed, had taken the first set with three service breaks.
Hsieh, 33, who plays with a double-handed grip on both sides and uses a mixture of spin and slice and drop shots to unsettle rivals, has taken top-10 players out of majors before. She reached the fourth round last year in Melbourne, beating Garbiñe Muguruza, and at Wimbledon, where she beat top-ranked Simona Halep.
Osaka, 21, was becoming flustered, unable to dictate rallies and seemingly unable to find a way to deal with Hsieh’s unusual style.
She found a way back, though, from 4-2 down in the second set when Hsieh was one point away from a 5-2 lead.
Osaka got an important break, rallying from 0-40 and winning five straight points, converting the game with a deep, powerful backhand that Hsieh barely retrieved but could not keep in play.
Hsieh had a chance at a break in the next game but could not convert, as Osaka saved with another backhand winner that reinforced the change in momentum. Apart from the tumble, after rolling her right ankle early in the game as she served for the second set, Osaka was in control until the end.
“Anything that I can do to stay here a bit longer, I tried to do,” said Osaka, who had never been past the fourth round of a major before September’s U.S. Open, where she beat Serena Williams in the final.
Serena Williams was set to continue her bid for an eighth Australian title, and an Open-era-record 24th Grand Slam singles title over all, against Dayana Yastremska later Saturday in Rod Laver Arena. A victory for Williams on Day 6 of the tournament would set up a fourth-round match against her older sister, Venus, or the top-ranked Halep.