Serena Williams to face 20-year-old Naomi Osaka in US Open final

Serena Williams wins the US Open semi finals

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will meet on Saturday in the US Open final on Saturday. Serena Williams beat Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 6-0 after dropping the opening two games on Thursday night. This will be Williams ninth US Open final.

“I’ve been working hard on my volleys. I have won a few doubles championships, so I know how to volley,” Williams said with a laugh, before adding this punch line: “I just usually come in only to shake hands.”

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On Saturday, Williams will face Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old, who is the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam final.

Osaka saved all 13 break points she faced Thursday and defeated 2017 runner-up Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4.


Asked during her on-court interview how she managed to stave off all of those break chances, Osaka replied with a laugh, “This is going to sound really bad, but I was just thinking, ‘I really want to play Serena.'” Why? “Because she’s Serena,” Osaka said. “Like, what do you mean?”

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She was born in Japan, but moved to New York at the age of 3 and is now based in Florida. Her coach is Sascha Bajin, who used to be Williams’ hitting partner.

 


With one more victory, Williams will earn her seventh US Open championship and her 24th major singles trophy, equaling Margaret Court for the most in tennis history.

Williams had lost in the semifinals in the previous two US opens – against Roberta Vinci in 2015 while bidding for a calendar-year Grand Slam, and against Karolina Pliskova in 2016.

A year ago, Williams missed the US Open because she gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, during the tournament. She then dealt with complications related to blood clots.


Serena played the French Open in May but had to withdraw due to an injured chest muscle. At her second major tournament this year, Wimbledon, she was the runner-up.

Now she has a chance to take a title and become, at a few weeks shy of turning 37, the oldest woman to win a Slam in singles.

“It’s honestly really incredible. A year ago, I was fighting for, literally, my life at the hospital after I had the baby,” Williams said, her voice wavering. “So every day I step out on this court, I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport, you know? So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I’ve already won.”

 

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