Williams vs. Osaka: A Dream Match at the US Open

Marcus Newton
September 8, 2018

Across the net will be 20-year-old Naomi Osaka. "I'm sure it's different, finals and semis, but I hope she can enjoy it and play a good level". She and her older sister Mari took up tennis at a young age, training at the ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray, Florida. "She was trying to deal with that".

Although born in Osaka, Japan, she moved to Long Island when she was three. A solid game plan should help her test the American great but it's easier said than done. "But the way she tries to speak in Japanese is so cute", said Yukie Ohashi, a 41-year-old Tokyo resident. Hopefully I won't play like that again. "From my name, they don't expect to see a black girl". "So every day I step out on this court, I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport, you know?"

Osaka added that despite her admiration for Williams, she would have to think of the showdown as any other match. While Williams certainly appears to be very much on top of her game and has indicated no plans to walk away anytime soon, Osaka appears to be the future. Not to mention a possible seventh US Open title, too.

The final will be played at 5:00 a.m. Japan time on Sunday and even if she fails to pull off a stunning victory, the Asahi newspaper believes Osaka's U.S. Open run could hail the beginning of a generational shift in women's tennis.

Meanwhile, Osaka's arrival hasn't come without streakiness. If she gets No. 24, it would tie Margaret Court for the most major championships in tennis history; as it is, Williams owns the professional-era record of 23, because Court won some of hers against amateur competition.

Williams and Osaka set up US Open showdown
Naomi Osaka stands in way of her idol Serena Williams

Osaka, a 20-year-old based in Florida who was in the last four of a major for the first time, will face 23-time Grand Slam victor Serena Williams in the championship match on Saturday. "She never gives up", writes Alexis on Instagram. "I would put 2018 into a dumpster and light it on fire", she told ESPN.com recently. Tactics and overall craftiness, rather than pure power, dominated the women's game and had made Hingis a five-time Grand Slam champion.

"It feels a little bit surreal", she later said at a news conference.

The first thing Williams did after her win: spend time with her daughter. Two and a half years later, Williams herself will be testing that herself while Osaka lives out a dream.

Playing under the closed roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium as rain fell for the first time during this year's US Open, Williams was rarely troubled as she marched into the final at Flushing Meadows for the ninth time in her storied career.

Fifteen months younger than her sister Venus, Serena did what big sis failed to do in the 1997 tournament and topped World No. 1 Martina Hingis.

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