Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after defeating Madison Keys during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday. Photo: AP/Seth Wenig
tennis

Naomi Osaka to play Serena Williams in U.S. Open final

21 Comments

Naomi Osaka of Japan made her first career Grand Slam final on Thursday night, beating 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys 6-2, 6-4.

The No. 20 seed will play six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams for the title Saturday.

Keys, seeded 14th, couldn't convert on any of her 13 break-point opportunities.

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?"

Williams will play for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title after advancing to the final with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Anastasija Sevastova. A year after missing the tournament and giving birth to her daughter during it, Williams reached the final in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2014, when she won the last of her six U.S. Open titles.

Now comes a chance to take a title and become, 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."

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
Login to comment

Going to be good. Osaka versus one of her idols.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Yay! Naomi's dream has come true. The young princess is going to meet her idol, the Queen of Tennis, in the final.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Asked if she had a message for Serena, her response (shyly): "I love you".

Awesome :)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

AMAZING! What a perfect match she played. Great job, Naomi-chan!! But only half finished, beat Serena on Sunday and you will be the first Japanese to ever win a Major title!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Serena is still as good as ever, but I'm still rooting for Naomi.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

go Japan go

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Saw Naomi play yesterday on TV and she routed her opponent big time. Good luck to her. I like Serena but it would be nice if Naomi wins this.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Saw Naomi play yesterday on TV and she routed her opponent big time.

Serena routed her semifinal opponent even worse.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really hope she forgets she's playing against her idol and that she has a proper crack.

Serena: "So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I've already won."

Good.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I’ll be happy for the winner regardless of who it is. And the one that loses this match should also be extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished. Both history makers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Win or lose, I hope Japan will embrace her fully as one of their own. No Japanese woman has accomplished this and she deserves the same amount of recognition and adulation generally heaped on full-blooded Japanese. Same for Aska Cambridge and others.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Go Japan, beat Serena!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Go, go, go Naomi!

Congratulations in advance!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

2nd straight year 2 women of color in the US Finals

Out of 4 Americans in the women's semifinals last year, the only one to make it back to the semis was Madison Keys

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 she deserves the same amount of recognition and adulation generally heaped on full-blooded Japanese...

She already has gained more respect than most of "full-blooded Japanese" due not only to her accomplishment but also to her personality, which has won minds of many people around the world beyond Japan and America. I love her.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan v USA. Closest nations in the world, now Big rivals in sport! Go Naomi-chan and GO Japan!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

For the betterment and excitement of the world tennis, Naomi should win this final.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HakmanSep. 7 02:13 pm JSTSaw Naomi play yesterday on TV and she routed her opponent big time.

Serena routed her semifinal opponent even worse.

That bad, huh? This should make for an exciting match.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I had hoped, Naomi has won the first set 6-2 this morning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She has won!

Amazingly good play on her part. Shame about Serena's behaviour and penalty though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Naomi has won her first Grand Slam! Congratulations to Naomi and hope that she will continue her quest to greatness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites