20-year-old Naomi Osaka blasted her way into the first Grand Slam final of her career on Thursday night, ousting 2017 finalist Madison Keys of the United States, 6-2, 6-4, to reach the 2018 US Open final and becoming the first woman representing Japan to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era.
Serena defeated Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets 63 60
No.14 seed Keys had won the three previous encounters between the two players, but it was the Japanese player, who claimed her first title at Indian Wells earlier this year, who was the more solid player on the day, emerging victorious in 85 minutes.
"I feel like every day that I play, I always want to keep improving, so I'm never really sure what my top level is," said Osaka, during her post-match press conference. "But I think for sure today I played really well, and I had to because [Keys is] such a great player. She has a really good record against me."
No.20 seed Osaka demonstrated extreme composure to go with her power game during the semifinal tilt, and brilliantly fended off all 13 break points she faced throughout the encounter. Osaka also won over 60 percent of points on Keys' second serve, and the American was undone by 32 unforced errors in the match.
"The last few times I've played Madison, I've been the one that's been trying to go for shots," said Osaka, who had claimed that her quarterfinal victory had been "business" after an emotional fourth-round win. "Today I was just trying to be more patient and maybe go for them when I had the opportunity. So I wasn't trying to hit that many winners or anything. Today was, I guess, business, too."
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Photo: Rémy Gros