Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in the semifinals of the Australian Open 2021. And it emerged as the biggest match of the tournament so far.
While the young Japanese was favourite on paper, the 39-year-old American wasn’t going to give up so easily on her #24 strap. On top of that, they both had tasted glory at Melbourne Park and were gunning for yet another opportunity to do the same.
This begged the question, ‘Who will be the better of the two today?’, and they both played their best tennis to answer.
Osaka with an upper hand against Serena
Getting an early break in the match, the 7-time Australian Open champion, Serena Williams, made the first mark on the score. She then held her serve with big serves, showing no signs of mercy.
Contrarily, Naomi Osaka, 23, started plainly. But looking at her opponent in full energy, she too settled in quickly and recovered her loss in the fourth game.
Both using the whole court, they staged a fine competition for a semifinals match. But keeping up the same momentum under the heat in Melbourne Park looked like the ultimate challenge.
At the first changeover, the young Japanese led the opening set at 2-3. Subsequently, Osaka did not give the veteran any room to get in the lead.
Within 38 minutes, Williams lost the first set 3-6 and needed to rethink her strategy. One set lost and she will be months away from another chance to bid for her 24th Grand Slam.
Serena Williams attack vs and Naomi Osaka defense
Furious at herself, the 23-time Grand Slam champion wanted more from her game. However, the young and resilient Osaka hit the returns so close to the lines, Serena could do nothing but watch.
After breaking the American’s first serve in the second set, Osaka hit two aces to secure a 0-2 lead. Although Serena tried her best, she couldn’t match Osaka’s swiftness on the court.
Hollering and screaming, the tenth seed of the tournament kept her side of the scoreboard ticking over. But her opponent, Osaka, also kept doing a decent job, giving a quiet fist pump to herself after every point won.
Unsurprisingly, the tennis queen found her breakthrough, putting herself back into the game. But she couldn’t keep her lead, giving Osaka chance to serve for the match.
Showing her class until the final point, the Japanese broke Serena’s dream for her 24th Grand Slam at the Australian Open 2021. As a gesture of respect to her opponent, Osaka bowed down to the American tennis great. The final score: 3-6, 4-6.
Moving forward, Osaka will meet the winner between Jennifer Brady or Karolina Muchova in the finals. And since both her potential opponents are outside Top-20 rank, this brings her closer to the Australian Open 2021 title.
Can Naomi win her fourth overall and second Australian Open title this year?
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