Naomi Osaka claimed an impressive victory over Serena Williams to reach the Australian Open final and end the American’s latest quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. Three-time Slam champion Osaka withstood early pressure from Williams to win 6-3 6-4.
Osaka is on a 20-match unbeaten streak and has never lost a Slam final. The Japanese will face Jennifer Brady in Saturday’s final after the American beat Karolina Muchova. Brady came past the Czech 6-4 3-6 6-4 to seal a spot in her first Grand Slam final. It will be a rematch of the 2020 US Open semi-final, which Osaka came through in three sets.
“I was really nervous and scared in the beginning and then I sort of eased my way into it,” Osaka said of her match with Williams. “It’s just always an honour to play her and I just didn’t want to go out really dud. I just wanted to try my best.” It is the first time Williams has lost a semi-final at the Australian Open in eight appearances in the last four.
Williams will be left to rue the opportunities she let slip and once again wonder whether she will equal Margaret Court’s major record.