By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Feb 18 (.) – Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams’ bid to clinch her 24th Grand Slam title on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory that gave her a berth in her second Open final. from Australia and left the American crying.
In the rematch of her tumultuous finish at the 2018 US Open, Osaka underscored her status as the new queen of women’s tennis and was drenched in cheers from the Rod Laver Arena crowd as fans returned to the stands in Melbourne after a close five days.
“It’s always an honor to play against her and I didn’t want to be too badly off. I just wanted to do my best,” Osaka said after their 75-minute match. “I was a little girl who watched her play and being on the court playing against her is a dream.”
2019 champion Osaka will face Jennifer Brady, who made sure there was at least one American in the final after beating Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6 and 6-4 in the other Thursday semi-final.
It will be a rematch of last year’s US Open semi-final, in which Osaka beat Brady in three sets en route to his third Grand Slam title.
Williams came out crying after a game plagued by mistakes and with a question mark about his future.
The 39-year-old tennis player, who returned to touring in 2018 after moving away from tennis to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia, cut her post-match press conference when she broke down after a question.
“I had so many opportunities … I made too many mistakes there and easy mistakes,” said the American. “It’s not like (…) I was in the race or something. There were a lot of mistakes.”
Williams’ record attempt ended in another disappointment, having reached the finals of four Grand Slams since his last major crown at the Australian Open in 2017.
She paused as she left center court as the crowd cheered her on. He put his hand on his heart, smiled and waved.
Williams was asked if it was a final farewell to Melbourne Park, where he holds the record for seven titles in the professional era. “I don’t know, if I ever say goodbye I wouldn’t tell anyone, so …” he replied. (Edited in Spanish by Javier Leira)