No.3 seed Monica Puig powered into the semifinals of the Brasil Tennis Cup, where she's set up a clash with No.2 seed Irina-Camelia Begu.
WTA Staff

FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil - No.3 seed Monica Puig powered into the Brasil Tennis Cup semifinals after a commanding win over 18-year-old Naomi Osaka, 6-3, 6-4.

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Osaka came out swinging from the first point, displaying all the signs of her giant-killing form that has seen her reaching the third round at back to back Grand Slams this year.

"She started off very strong," Puig said. "I just tried to keep myself there in the match the whole time. I served really well and played well on the long points, too."

Osaka opened the match by breaking Puig's serve, but the Puerto Rican has been in strong form all week long and was able to grab the break right back. Puig broke once more for a 3-1 lead, which she backed up with her strong service games to take the opening set. She earned another break in the first game of the second, and closed out the match after an hour and fifteen minutes.

After the match, the Puerto Rican had nothing but praise for her young opponent.

"Obviously, Osaka is super young, and I think she has an incredible potential," Puig said after the match. "She's a player who has many strong weapons and a great game. Of course, she's only 18 years old, so you need to give her more time, because if she stays playing like this she'll go very, very far."

Puig is set to face the No.2 seeded Irina-Camelia Begu for a spot in the Brasil Tennis Cup final. The Romanian came through against No.7 seed Nao Hibino 6-2, 6-4.

"I played with Puig earlier this year in Charleston," Begu said. "That was a really tough match, really close third set. I know it's going to be a difficult match, but it's the semifinals of a WTA event - I'm expecting that."

Begu is one of two Romanians into the semifinals along with Ana Bogdan, who's set to compete against the No.6 seed Timea Babos in the next round. Much like Puig expressed yesterday, Begu has her own reasons for feeling right at home in Florianopolis.

"Romanians are Latin, so we are very similar," she said. "We feel good here in Brazil, we feel like home and that's probably why we play so good here."