Osaka put up a fight against Williams, who was considered to be in her most top form ever but everything ended quite differently for the legend after the Japanese stood her ground till the end.
As Osaka advances to the fourth slam, it should be noted that she had previously won the three prior to this becoming a top contender in the tennis world and this time around she may engrave her name once again onto the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
Osaka beat Williams 6-3, 6-4 in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday, making it her 20th consecutive match win since her last defeat in February 2020.
“It’s always an honour to play [Williams],” said Osaka, who beat Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open final for her breakthrough Slam title. “I just didn’t want to go out really bad. … Just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream. The biggest thing that I’ve learned over the years is … you’re a competitor. You’re playing against another competitor.”
The defeat will definitely affect Serena negatively as her hopes for a 24th grand slam have been silenced yet again, as she had hoped to win it again this time around after putting on an amazing performance throughout the championship.
It is now very clear that Serena Williams isn’t the once-unstoppable force fans had gotten used to, winning only two major titles from her past 12 visits to a semi-final, compared to a success rate of 21 from 28 before that.
What’s left now for Williams is to make sure she can turn the tables at the Wimbledon, as she hopes for another turn at the Roland Garros (French Open) given the fact that she is now approaching 40. A sign that the window only grows smaller by the moment.
Naomi Osaka advances to the final after beating Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4
The match ended with both players thanking one another but it later turned tearful and sad during the press conference when Williams broke into tears as she started to answer the next question about what went wrong in the match. “I don’t know,” she said while holding back her tears. “I’m done,” she added and exited stage right.
The defeat clearly stung the 39-year-old badly, who left her brief post-match press conference after three and a half minutes overwhelmed.
“I want her to play forever,” Osaka said. “That’s the little kid in me.”
This is Williams 11th major tournament since her life-threatening 2017 childbirth. The 39-year-old mother owns the record in the Open Era (since 1968), where the standard of competition has been considerably stronger.
Williams has reached six semifinals and four finals in those 11 majors as a mom. She’s lifted strictly runner-up trophies and is no longer the favourite at Slams. However, even if she does not succeed in scaling the highest of peaks, her contribution to sports will forever remain extraordinary.
“I was a little kid watching her play,” Osaka said, “and just to be on the court playing against her for me is a dream.”
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.