Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Naomi Osaka pays tribute to 'idol' Serena as US Open showdown looms

Williams will compete for her seventh US Open title at Flushing Meadows this weekend Williams will compete for her seventh US Open title at Flushing Meadows this weekend
Shannon Reynolds | 08 September, 2018, 21:40

She was seen arriving at her hotel armed with shopping bags before leaving for practice.

Osaka also has a strong attachment to Japanese culture, describing her visits to the country as like a "super-awesome extended vacation that I don't want to leave", according to media reports.

Serena Williams celebrates her win over Anastasija Sevastova in the U.S. Open semifinals on September 6.

While Mouratoglou wasn't willing to divulge all the details of their semifinal strategy, he said the plan was for Williams to get to the net more often, hit more volleys, and when Sevastova changed direction, to play behind her and not allow her to play defense and control the pace of the game.

"I feel like every young person playing, they want to win Grand Slams and they want to be number one of course that's my goal", said Osaka. Her wish was granted.

She has won six of her 23 major titles in NY, and with a victory would equal Margaret Court's record. "Every time I had a break point, it was an ace or a victor or something like that (from Osaka)".

For Serena Williams, there was no "wait until next year" during the last U.S. Open.

Williams capped her first "Serena Slam" with a victory in the 2003 Australian Open final against - you guessed it - her sister Venus. She also added Conchita Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion who guided Garbine Muguruza to Wimbledon glory previous year.

What is the key to the match for Serena?

"It was hard. You think she's going to let up but she didn't".

And she did it in just 66 minutes.

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Taurasi finished with 17 points, but the Mercury were unable to overcome losing the first two games of the series in Seattle. Wins over Dallas and CT in the elimination rounds pushed the Mercury's record to 13-0 in winner-take-all games with Taurasi.

As far as her comeback goes, Williams entered the tournament ranked 26th in the world and will be in the top 20 again when she finishes, possibly ranked as high as 16th.

What is in Osaka's favour, however, is her extremely consistent serve. She has never played a match of this magnitude. Although born in Osaka, Japan, she moved to Long Island when she was three. Wimbledon, however, has not been kind to her.

It was nearing midnight, moments after the biggest victory of her life.

That she does not cower in the face of an adversary - someone named Serena, no less - speaks volumes about Pliskova's mental fortitude. She's more focused on achieving her goal and mission.

However, that's how I'll treat tonight's match, at least to start with - as a neutral. "I couldn't have predicted this at all", said Williams.

Two years ago, she was asked a question about her career ambitions and responded by saying: "To be the very best, like no-one ever was". "It was a bad match". She only lost four.

The win sets up a tantalizing final between Williams and Osaka, 20, who considers Williams her idol.

There is more Black Girl Magic that happened at the US Open: Sloane Stephens won the tournament previous year, but the defending champion's run ended Tuesday in the quarterfinals with a defeat.

And yet, the narrative surrounding her tends to get lost among other plot lines, mostly around the enduring excellence of Petra Kvitova.

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