New York City, USA: Naomi Osaka will face Serena Williams in the U.S. Open Final on Saturday after she defeated Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4 in their semi-final tonight
In a composed performance that hardly showed it was her first appearance in the final four at a Slam, Osaka needed just 85 minutes to down Keys and set up a date with Serena Williams in Saturday’s final.
Osaka, 20, had never beaten Keys in their previous three meetings.
The 19th seed saw off 13 break points and clinically took those which came her way.
She meets 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams on Saturday. Williams eased past Latvia’s 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets earlier on Thursday.
“What message do you have for your mom?” “Mom! I love you. I did it!”
“And a message to Serena?” “I love you?”
“Anything else?” “I love everybody!”
Naomi Osaka is asked how she saved 13 of 13 break points: “This is going to sound really bad, but I was just think I REALLY want to play Serena.”
“Why?” “Because she’s Serena!”
Naomi Osaka was only one year old when Serena made her very first debut at the US Open.
And now, she will be facing her idol in the USOpen finals this Saturday.
Welcome to the show Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka was born in Osaka, Japan. Her father, Leonard Max Francois, is Haitian and mother, Tamaki, is Japanese.
At the age of three, she moved to Long Island, where her father had lived prior to going to college. A few years later, she moved down to Florida and today lives in Fort Lauderdale.
But, the 20-year-old still calls one place her real home.
“New York is very nostalgic,” Osaka said earlier. “When I come here I always have memories of when I was a kid. Sometimes I walk down the streets I walked down when I was a little kid. Everything feels so much smaller. It’s an interesting feeling.
“But every time I come here, I’m very happy,” said Osaka.
“I always thought if I were to win a Grand Slam, the first one I’d want to win is the US Open, because I have grown up here and then my grandparents can come and watch. I think it would be really cool.”
Adding to her joy during this visit is her eye-opening run to her first Grand Slam semifinal on Thursday at the tournament and venue that means the most to her.
“I used to play here when I was a little kid, so these courts aren’t new to me,” Osaka said of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds.
“I always thought if I were to win a Grand Slam, the first one I’d want to win is the US Open, because I have grown up here and then my grandparents can come and watch. I think it would be really cool,” said Osaka, who trounced Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1, 6-1, on Wednesday in less than an hour on another hot afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The first Japanese woman to make a Grand Slam semifinal since Kimiko Date in 1996 at Wimbledon, Osaka beat No. 14 Madison Keys on Thursday night. The American Keys, a 2017 US Open finalist, defeated No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, 6-4, 6-3, Wednesday night.
The 20th seed has matched the sizzling temperatures this fortnight with some searing play of her own. She has dropped just one set and in her first three matches she lost a total of seven games, highlighted by a 6-0, 6-0 blanking of Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the third round.
EARLIER : Serena Williams Cruises Past Anastasija Sevastova Into U.S. Open Final
Serena Williams is through to her 31st Grand Slam final and her ninth in New York after an emphatic win over Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0 in their US Open semi-final today.
Serena Williams fell behind early in her semifinal with 19 seeded Anastasija Sevastova but returned to her dominant ways to advance to the US Open final.
Just seven months and seven tournaments removed from returning to competition following the birth of her first child, Williams was back at her best and needed just 66 minutes to beat the 19th seeded Latvian and reach her 31st Grand Slam final.
Williams fell behind 2-0 to Sevastova but then won five games in a row and 12 of 13 to win 6-3, 6-0. She had fallen behind 3-1 and 4-2 in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova before rallying.
Williams will be appearing in her second consecutive Grand Slam final. She lost to Angelique Kerber at the Wimbledon final.
If she wins Saturday, it would be her seven US Open title and 24th Grand Slam title, which would bring her even with current Grand Slam title record-holder Margaret Court of Australia.
Serena Williams now has another shot at winning her first Grand Slam title since giving birth.
Williams has already long established her place as one of the all-time greats – if not the greatest – and has another chance to cement that by ensuring no-one else in the history of the game has more major victories than her.
Williams – who came back from maternity leave in March – walked off Arthur Ashe Stadium court with a wave and twirl to await the winner of the other semi-final between Japan’s Naomi Osaka and American Madison Keys, who lost last year’s final to Sloane Stephens.
The 36-year-old will play either fellow American Madison Keys or Japan’s Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final.