Naomi Osaka Beats Serena Williams to Make It to Australian Open Final Round

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Naomi Osaka Beats Serena Williams to Make It to Australian Open Final Round” – below is their description.

    As Serena Williams walked off the court after her latest so-close-yet-so-far bid for a 24th Grand Slam title ended with a loss to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, the 39-year-old American paused and put her hand on her chest while thousands of spectators rose to applaud.

    Was this, Williams was asked at a news conference after the 6-3, 6-4 semifinal defeat, her way of saying goodbye?

    “If I ever say farewell,” she replied with a smile, “I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

    When the next question returned the conversation to the subject of Williams’ many mistakes Thursday (Wednesday night EST) — twice as many unforced errors, 24, as winners, 12 — she shook her head, teared up, said, “I’m done,” and abruptly walked out of the session with reporters.

    On Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. local time (3:30 a.m. EST), Osaka will meet first-time Grand Slam finalist Jennifer Brady of the United States for the championship. The 22nd-seeded Brady, who is from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA, prevailed in an epic, 18-point last game to edge No. 25 Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals.

    Brady dropped to her back at the baseline after saving a trio of break points, then converting her fifth match point when Muchova sent a forehand long.

    “My legs are shaking,” Brady said. “My heart is racing.”

    She lost to Osaka in a three-set thriller in the U.S. Open semifinals last September.

    “Everyone’s just really excited whenever they play their first final,” Osaka noted about what awaits Brady, “but they’re also really nervous.”

    Williams was hoping to get to her 34th Grand Slam final but, once again, couldn’t quite get the job done in order to add one more Grand Slam trophy to her collection of 23 and equal Margaret Court for the most in tennis history.

    Osaka, who also beat Williams in the chaotic 2018 U.S. Open final that concluded with the crowd booing and both women in tears, reached her fourth major title match and stretched her winning streak to 20 matches by claiming the last eight points.

    “I don’t know if there’s any little kids out here today, but I was a little kid watching her play,” Osaka, 23, said about Williams, “and just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream.”

    The No. 3-seeded Osaka’s Grand Slam collection also includes last year’s U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open and she is, without a doubt, the most dangerous hard-court player in the women’s game at the moment.

    That used to be Williams, of course. But she was off-target too much in this contest.

    “I could have won. I could have been up 5-Love,” said Williams, who instead took a 2-0 lead at the outset before dropping the next five games. “I just made so many errors.”

    Her forehand, in particular, went awry, with no fewer than 10 unforced errors off that side in the first set alone.

    “Too many mistakes there,” she said. “Easy mistakes.”

    Williams’ frustration was made plain early in the second set, when she leaned over and screamed, “Make a shot! Make a shot!”

    After collecting her professional era-record 23rd Slam singles trophy at Melbourne Park while pregnant in 2017, Williams has reached four major finals and lost them all.

    She’s also now lost in the semifinals twice in the past three majors.

    That stage hasn’t been a problem for top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who has won 14 of his last semifinals at Grand Slam events. His record is perfect in semifinals at Melbourne Park, improving to 9-0 with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win late Thursday over Aslan Karatsev, a Russian qualifier who was ranked No. 114 and making his debut in a major.

    Djokovic is seeking a ninth Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Karatsev was playing in his first Grand Slam tournament.

    Rafael Nadal — who lost in the quarterfinals to Stefanos Tsitsipas after blowing a two-set lead — and Roger Federer are tied for the men’s record of 20.

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    In This Story: Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

    Djokovic has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, the third-most in history for a male player, five ATP Finals titles, a record 36 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, 14 ATP Tour 500 titles, and has held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 289 weeks (second of all time). In majors, he has won a record eight Australian Open titles, five Wimbledon titles, three US Open titles, and one French Open title. By winning the 2016 French Open, he became the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam and the third man to hold all four major titles at once, the first since Rod Laver in 1969.

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    Rafael Nadal is a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 2 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

    Nadal has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, the second-most in history for a male player, as well as 35 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, 21 ATP Tour 500 titles and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles and the 2016 Olympic gold medal in doubles. In addition, Nadal has held the world No. 1 ranking for a total of 209 weeks, including being the year-end No. 1 five times.

    In majors, Nadal has won a record twelve French Open titles, four US Open titles, two Wimbledon titles and one Australian Open title, and won at least one Grand Slam every year for a record ten consecutive years (2005–2014). Nadal has won 85 career titles overall, including the most outdoor titles in the Open Era (83) and a record 59 titles on clay. With 81 consecutive wins on clay, Nadal holds the record for the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era.

    Nadal has been involved in five Davis Cup titles with Spain, and currently has a 29-win streak and 29–1 record in singles matches at the event. In 2010, at the age of 24, he became the seventh male player and the youngest of five in the Open Era to achieve the singles Career Grand Slam. Nadal is the second male player after Andre Agassi to complete the singles Career Golden Slam, as well as the second male player after Mats Wilander to have won at least two Grand Slams on all three surfaces (grass, hard court and clay).

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