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.'"
"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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.