Naomi Osaka stands in way of her idol Serena Williams
08 September, 2018, 23:28 | Author: Isabel Grant
Saturday will be the fulfilment of Osaka's childhood dream of facing Williams in a Grand Slam final.
"It feels a little bit surreal", she later said at a news conference. But right after she won this match, I was getting text messages from friends back home saying 'you're in NY and Naomi just won!' So based on that, I think people who are not always into tennis are interested in her. Osaka has played the best tennis of her career over the past two weeks - dropping just one set en route to the final. Williams broke her service to take a 3-2 lead and won nine of the next 10 games. I'd suggest that this final is symptomatic of a current group of players with no outstanding candidate and are largely capable of beating each other.
"This next match is the most important match", Mouratoglou told ESPN.com. She rides a straight-set thumping of Madison Keys in Thursday's semifinals.
Despite holding both US and Japanese citizenship, her father chose to register her with the Japanese Tennis Association as she started her career. She is looking for a 24th Grand Slam singles trophy that would tie Margaret Court for the most in tennis. She needs to come out firing and on the front foot, because Osaka needs badly to get off to a good start to build belief that she can pull off the upset.
While that matchup might give Osaka a measure of confidence and will surely help her keep her nerves as she faces her idol, the result can more or less be thrown out the window - Serena was playing just her fourth match since returning from a 13-month absence due to her pregnancy.
Williams had lost in the semifinals in her previous two trips to NY - against Roberta Vinci in 2015 while bidding for a calendar-year Grand Slam, and against Karolina Pliskova in 2016.
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