Naomi Osaka has reached the final of the Australian Open with an impressive victory over Serena Williams, ending the American’s latest attempt to capture her 24th title. Grand Slam title.
Three-time Slam winner Osaka withstood the pressure from Williams and won 6-3 6-4.
Osaka is unbeaten in 20 matches and has never lost in the final of a Slam tournament.
The Japanese will face Jennifer Brady in the final on Saturday after the American defeated Karolina Muchova.
Brady defeated the Czech Republic 6-4 3-6 6-4 to advance to her first Grand Slam final.
It will be a rematch of the semi-finals of the 2020 US Open, which Osaka won in three sets.
At the beginning I was really nervous and scared, but then I slowly got closer, Osaka said of his match against Williams.
It was always an honor to play with her, and I didn’t want to go the wrong way. I just wanted to try it.
This is the first time Williams has lost in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in his last eight appearances.
Williams will have to look for missed opportunities and ask herself again if she can match Margaret Court’s great record.
Osaka is holding its.
Osaka wrote a message to her sister Marie after her win over Williams.
The last time Osaka and Williams met in a Grand Slam tournament was in the final of the 2018 US Open, a match remembered for Williams’ explosion in the judges’ stand and Osaka’s tears at the awards ceremony.
Since then, Osaka has won two more major titles and moved up to third in the world rankings, while increasing its confidence and composure on the court.
It was Williams, with all his experience, who got off to the best start. He broke a nervous Osaka in the first game and held his own serve for a 2-0 lead.
Although Osaka’s serve wasn’t the best, his strength and increasingly comfortable movements allowed him to defend and take advantage of Williams’ slump to win six of the last seven games and take the first set.
Williams’ own serve, such an important weapon in her game, did not go down in flames, and she became even more frustrated when her big shots missed the mark and Osaka found the line.
The tenth seed screamed to try his luck by mixing easy errors with strong winners to force the break, but it looked like the match would tip over after the break.
Osaka, who led hesitantly at 5-3, was reduced to 30 by the crowd cheering for Williams, but the Japanese showed extraordinary courage and fought back immediately.
She broke Williams in love and then made four huge first serves, including an ace, to finish the match in 75 minutes.
What is the next step for Williams?
Williams says goodbye to the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena.
The biggest disappointment for Williams would be that she was able to keep up with Osaka for most of the match until simple errors let her down.
Williams was so impressive in the quarterfinals against second-seeded Simona Halep that she seemed to have the best chance of beating Osaka again in four games.
Her exercise and overall fitness are better than they have been since she returned from maternity leave in 2018.
But Osaka often had the upper hand on the longer games, her easy power allowed her to finish the point with the winner, and Williams could find no way to overtake her, ending the match with 24 unforced errors against 12 winners.
With a declining serve percentage, Williams tried to force her hand, but she could do nothing to prevent Osaka from grabbing the final eight points of the match.
Her coach, Patrick Muratoglu, said the 39-year-old was not obsessed with the idea of matching her course results, but it is no secret that she used them as motivation when she returned to the track.
Williams would consolidate her status as the greatest of all with this record – but the warm applause from the Rod Laver Arena crowd gives her reason to believe she has already won the title.
Brady finally got a round of applause after converting her fifth game ball.
Brady and Osaka described their semifinal at Flushing Meadows as one of their best matches.
The U.S. Open was Brady’s Grand Slam breakthrough after injury and playing mostly doubles upon his return.
She was the stronger of the two against Muchova, who knocked out Ashley Barty in the quarter-finals, but it took real fighting spirit to win the match as the Czech pushed back four match points.
The 22nd placed herself on her knees and thought she had secured her second point of the match when Machova hit the net before realizing her own shot had sunk.
Brady’s team asked her to stay put and she had to clear two break points as her opponent tried to get back into the set.
In a tight 18-point game, Brady scored the win with his fifth point after Muchova squandered a long lead.