- Naomi Osaka defeated Madison Keys on Thursday night to move on to the first U.S. Open final of her career where she will face Serena Williams.
- After the match, Osaka said that it was her desire to play against Williams that pushed her through to the final.
- Osaka has played Williams once before and won, but that was just a few matches into Williams’ return to tennis.
On Thursday night, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka defeated Madison Keys to move on to the final of the U.S. Open for the first time in her young career.
In the final, she’ll be facing the greatest of all time, Serena Williams, who has won the tournament six times in her illustrious career. While such a young player might be daunted by the challenge that Serena presents, Osaka is unphased and even delighted with the opportunity.
After her match, Osaka was asked how she was able to save all 13 break points she faced against Keys.
“This is gonna sound really bad,” Osaka said, “but I was just thinking, ‘I really want to play Serena.'”
13 break points saved…How did you do that?
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2018
Osaka has been open about how much she’s looked up to Williams through her career and offered her upcoming opponent a simple message ahead of their match. “I love you,” Osaka said with a laugh.
Naomi Osaka's message to Serena before they face each other in the US Open final?
"I love you." ???????? pic.twitter.com/B7m8FzJWjm
— espnW (@espnW) September 7, 2018
Osaka has reason to be confident heading into her match with Williams – when the two met in the first round of the Miami Open back in March. Osaka defeated Williams in straight sets, but it’s worth noting that that match was very early in Williams’ return after taking time off for the birth of her child.
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