MELBOURNE, Australia— Naomi Osaka knocked Serena Williams out of the Australian Open on Thursday, but in relentlessly moving her back and forth on the court, did she additionally push Williams closer to retired life? After her 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Osaka in the semifinals, Williams left the Pole Laver Sector court to a standing ovation, which she recognized with a wave of her hand and a touching of her heart.
After 20 Australian Opens, was Williams saying goodbye to a nation of tennis fans that she described as “so amazing”?
“Osaka, who also beat Williams in the chaotic 2018 US Open final, 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, 39, “and just to be on the court playing against her, for me, is a dream.”
Osaka will face 22nd-seeded American Jennifer Brady for the championship on Saturday. Brady beat No. 25 Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
Brady claimed an epic, 18-point last game to reach her first Grand Slam final. She 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.”
Brady lost to Osaka in a three-set thriller in the US Open semifinals in September.”Source