Simply as within the U.S. Open, Naomi Osaka denied Serena Williams a finals shot together with her Australian Open semifinals victory. Some Serena followers now suppose she could have performed in Melbourne for the final time.
In a rematch of the 2018 U.S. Open ladies’s singles last, Serena Williams, 39, took on Naomi Osaka, 23, within the semi-finals of the 2021 Australian Open. 4 years faraway from Serena’s final Grand Slam title – the 2017 Australian Open, which she received whereas pregnant – the tennis icon was again within the hunt for her record-tying twenty fourth title. Standing in her method was the lady who denied her that history-making accomplishment three years in the past, the rising star of the game, Naomi. She as soon as once more stopped Serena’s path to historical past in a dominant straight set 6-3 6-4 victory.
Serena has some followers frightened that this may occasionally have been her final journey to Melbourne. After her loss, she took her time to wave goodbye to the wildly supportive followers within the stands at Rod Laver Area. She took her loss gracefully, hugging Naomi at middle courtroom and congratulating the younger phenom. Followers hope that this received’t be her last Australian Open, as subsequent yr when the occasion is held, Serena can have turned 40. Even the announcers discovered Serena’s lengthy wave and stroll of the courtroom “uncommon” and “poignant.”
As a Serena Williams fan, that is my first time seeing her react like this after defeat. This has me emotional and frightened. I hope she’s not planning to wrap it up quickly.#AusOpen #AustralianOpen2021 pic.twitter.com/O3zbbqNefe
— U N G I L D E D (@Finnick_Junior) February 18, 2021
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 18, 2021
Naomi has cruised her strategy to the Semifinals, defeating most of her opponents in two straight units – save two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who took the primary set in her fourth-round matchup with Osaka. Serena had the same path to the semi-finals. She struggled to take the primary set in opposition to Anastasia Potapova within the third spherical, however finally received 7(7)-6(5), 6-2. Serena misplaced a set to Aryna Sabalenka within the fourth spherical however rebounded to say victory. Her battle in opposition to Simona Halep within the quarter-finals turned heads with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 victory over 2019 Wimbledon Champion. Having struggled with quickness, Serena had regained her motion and took down the lady ranked No. 2 on this planet. “I undoubtedly suppose that is the most effective match I’ve performed this match for positive,” stated Serena afterward, per the Australian Open’s web site.
“I’ve been watching her and I’m positive she’s been watching me,” Serena stated of Osaka. “I really feel like that is such alternative for me simply to maintain doing my finest. It’s the primary Grand Slam of the yr for me. I had an extremely lengthy, arduous low season. And so, I’m actually proud of each win I get.”
Keen the 2017 Australian Open put Serena at 23 Grand Slam title wins, only one lower than Margaret Court docket, who has held the document since 1973. Serena got here near tying it 4 instances since her 2017 win. After giving beginning to her and Alexis Ohanian’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Serena returned to the game in 2018. Angelique Kerber defeated her within the 2018 Wimbledon last, misplaced the 2018 U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka, did not defeat Simona Halep within the 2019 Wimbledon last, and got here up brief in opposition to Bianca Andreescu within the 2019 U.S. Open ladies’s singles last. Although 2020 noticed Serena win her first title since maternity depart – the 2020 ASB Basic in Aukland – she was delimited within the third spherical of the 2020 Australian Open, misplaced the semi-finals of the 2020 U.S. Open, and pulled out of the French Open, citing an Achilles damage she sustained throughout her U.S. Open look.
Whereas Serena has been reestablishing herself because the “G.O.A.T.,” Naomi Osaka has secured her spot because the future of tennis. She received the Australian Open in 2019 and the U.S. Open in 2020. Throughout the 2020 U.S. Open, Naomi wore seven completely different face masks, every one bearing the identify of a Black individual — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice – killed by police as a protest in opposition to systemic racism and police brutality. She went on to clench her third Main title on the 2020 U.S. Open, defeating two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in three units.