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Naomi Osaka will advance to the Australian Open finals after defeating Serena Williams on Thursday.
Osaka swept Williams 6-3, 6-4 in the Australian Open semifinals — her 20th consecutive match win. She has not lost a game in a year.
“It’s always an honor to play [Williams],” said Osaka, following the impressive win. “I just didn’t want to go out really bad. … Just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream. The biggest thing that I’ve learned over the years is … you’re a competitor. You’re playing against another competitor.”
She now says she’s working hard to become the third active woman to win at least four majors. Osaka is 3-0 in Grand Slam finals, winning the 2018 and 2020 U.S. Open and 2019 Australian Open. The Williams’ sisters currently hold the title.
“I have this mentality that people don’t remember the runners-up,” said Osaka. “You might, but the winner’s name is the one that’s engraved. I think I fight the hardest in the finals. I think that’s where you sort of set yourself apart.”
Osaka will play American Jennifer Brady in Saturday’s championship, who defeated Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. This will be Brady’s first Grand Slam final.
Osaka scored her first Grand Slam win when she defeated Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open.
Williams penned an essay for Harper’s Bazaar in 2019, revealing that she sent a heartfelt note to Osaka. The note reads:
“I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another Black female athlete.”
Both ladies are incredible.