Osaka faces 'surreal' U.S. Open final against idol Serena

Serena and Osaka. Image GettyMore

Serena Williams is on the brink of equalling Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand-slam titles after reaching the US Open final with another scintillating performance at Flushing Meadows. A tearful Williams argued her case with tournament officials but, although she held serve in the next game, Osaka served out the victory 6-2 6-4.

"I've never cheated in my life", Williams said.

"To come this far so fast". I think that experience was really good for me.

Tennis is not as big in Japan as baseball, soccer or sumo, but Osaka's 6-2 6-4 semi-final win over Keys made the front pages of major local newspapers on Thursday - although it was dwarfed by news of the natural disaster that struck the northern island of Hokkaido earlier that day.

"It's really cool that I was able to play her so early", Osaka said.

Williams was given the violation by Carlos Ramos of Portugal in the second game of the second set while Osaka was serving, with her Japanese rival a set up this morning (NZ time).

Williams won 12 of the last 13 games in the semi-final, surging to the net repeatedly and proving hugely successful, winning 24 of 28 points. She then developed blood clots in her lungs and a pulmonary embolism, and when she had a coughing fit that reopened her c-section incision, she had to be rushed into surgery - just one of a number of surgeries she would have in the weeks that followed. "I should just try to play her as an opponent". "I have won a few doubles championships so I know how to volley". This has happened to me too many times, ' Williams screamed at Ramos.

Asked if she had message for Williams, Osaka, who beat Williams in their only head-to-head meeting, smiled and said, "Serena I love you". You stole a point from me.

As for the black tutu look: Williams wore it when she defeated Magda Linette a little while ago. Her 12 month hard court data isn't elite level either, but these last two weeks in NY have demonstrated that she's somewhere towards her best, and in the last three months on hard court (including her disaster display against Jo Konta) she's held 80.7% and broken 44.2% (combined 124.9%). "I tried on her games, but she served well - when somebody serves 123 miles per hour ace there's not much you can do".

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