Tennis

Australian Open | Naomi Osaka ends Serena Williams' bid for record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand in her Women’s Singles Semifinals match against Serena Williams of the United States during day 11 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams' bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in a storm of power hitting on Thursday, humbling the American great 6-3 6-4 to reach her second Australian Open final.

In a rematch of their tumultuous 2018 U.S. Open decider, Osaka underlined her status as the new queen of women's tennis and soaked up the cheers from the Rod Laver Arena crowd as fans returned to the Grand Slam after a five-day lockdown.

Also read: Who is Naomi Osaka?

Three-times Grand Slam champion Osaka will meet the winner of Jennifer Brady and Karolina Muchova in the title match.

"I did a lot of unforced errors in the first few games. I was really nervous and scared in the beginning and then I sort of eased my way into it," said Osaka on court.

Australian Open | Naomi Osaka ends Serena Williams' bid for record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title
 

"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," she said.

 

Williams broke Osaka in the opening game, but the Japanese third seed reeled off five straight games in a devastating display before closing out the set with a blazing forehand winner.

Osaka took Williams' serve in the first game of the second set and would not let up until she wobbled with three double-faults to allow the American to break back to 4-4.

But Williams repaid the favour with a double-fault on the next service game giving Osaka three break points.

Osaka converted the first then closed out the match when Williams thudded into the net.


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 9:14:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/australian-open-naomi-osaka-ends-serena-williams-bid-for-record-equalling-24th-grand-slam-title/article33867691.ece

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