Two-time Australian Open champion inspired by a dynamic veteran.
Naomi Osaka owns closing power.

The former world No. 1 has won the Australian Open in two of the last three years and will launch her AO title defense on January 17th as one of the most dangerous women in the Melbourne Park field.

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Osaka, who has reached the Melbourne Summer Set semifinals this week in her first tournament since bowing in the US Open third round, is focusing on improving finishing forward.

To that end, the four-time Grand Slam champion says she's been inspired watching a dynamic ATP all-courter: Grigor Dimitrov.

Tennis Express

Typically, Osaka is most comfortable venturing to net for the post-match handshake. But she owns an explosive drive volley and if she can develop net instincts, angled volleys and some touch volleys it will make her powerful baseline blasts even more lethal by empowering her to close points at net.

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"Of course me and [coach] Wim [Fissette] worked on it a lot, and we've been kind of trying to work on my touch, which he says isn't that bad, but I just never really try to go up to the net at all," said Osaka, who will face third-seeded Veronika Kudermetova in the semifinals.

"For me, I feel like that's really important. I was watching Dimitrov play before that, and him and his opponent seemed to be quite good ending things at the front of the net. I just wanted to kind of be like that. Maybe I got inspiration from them."

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