The 2018 US Open final will be a meeting between American 23-time major champion Serena Williams and Japan’s first ever female Grand Slam finalist Naomi Osaka, who was just a one-year-old when her upcoming opponent lifted her first Grand Slam winner’s trophy.
The 17th-seeded Williams needed just 66 minutes to dispatch seed No.19 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3 6-0 in Thursday’s semis, winning 11 of the last 12 games and losing only 12 points in the second set. Williams’ stellar net play stood out in this match, with 24 points won out of 28 net approaches, and she addressed it in her on-court interview:
I’ve been working hard on my volleys. I have won a few doubles championships, so I know how to volley. I just usually only come in only to shake hands.
The 20th-seeded Osaka ousted last year’s runner-up and 14th seed Madison Keys, saving all 13 break points she faced en route to a 6-2 6-4 victory. When asked how she managed to do that, the quirky 20-year-old responded:
This is going to sound really bad but I was just thinking I really want to play Serena.
Osaka has already beaten her idol Serena and that was actually the only time they’ve played each other — 6-3 6-2 in the first round of the 2018 Miami Open, which was Serena’s second tournament after maternity leave.