US Open 2018 Finals: Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka Go Head to Head
September 7, 2018
On September 8, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will face each other in this year’s US Open Women’s Singles finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
Before reaching the finals, Williams had to go through Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková, Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, and her sister, Venus Williams. Meanwhile, Osaka had to defeat Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, and Israel’s Julia Glushko on her way to the finals.
Sportsbooks, including William Hill, have released their own set of odds and predictions. Most of them are leaning toward a Williams most likely because she is just one win away from her 24th Grand Slam win. Will Naomi Osaka stand a chance against the 23-time Grand Slam champion?
Serena Williams – 4/11
Serena Williams’ last US Open triumph was back in 2014. She also won the tournament two years prior to that, making her the only American to win a major tournament three years in a row. In 2017, she missed the US Open to give birth to her child, Alexis Olympia. Having had a fair standing, Williams’ odds to win is set at 4/11 by William Hill.
Now that Williams is back, the 17th seed is on her way to claim her 24th Grand Slam title. At the semi-finals, Williams faced Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova for the first time.
Sevastova led the first set by winning two points in the first two rounds, keeping Williams off balance. But Williams settled in and bounced back as she made her serves, forehands, and volleys. She even joked on how good her volleys were as she said:
“I’ve been working hard on my volleys. I have won a few doubles championships, so I know how to volley. I just usually come in only to shake hands.”
Williams won the first set with 6-3 and trampled Sevastova in the second set with a 6-0 win. When Sevastova was asked about her loss to Williams, she said:
“She got a little bit lucky, I think, on some breaks in the first set. Then she started feeling better. When she’s in front, it’s tough to play. She stayed focused in the second set.”
Williams will be making history if she wins this year’s US Open. The 36-year-old will be the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title at a singles match. Williams expressed her gratitude as her road to making history came nearer. She said:
“It’s honestly really incredible. A year ago, I was fighting for, literally, my life at the hospital after I had the baby. So every day I step out on this court, I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport, you know? So no matter what happens in any match — semis, finals — I just feel like I’ve already won.”
If Williams wins her seventh US Open title this year, she will be surpassing Chris Evert’s record for most US Open titles. Also, the 36-year-old’s Grand Slam record will be equal to that of the former world number one, Margaret Court.
Naomi Osaka – 11/5
As one of the youngest players in the tournament, Japan’s Naomi Osaka’s record holds only one title – the Indian Wells Open. She had claimed her spot in the tournament being as the number 20 seed. The 20-year-old makes history as she is the first Japanese woman who made it to Grand Slam finals.
Osaka openly declares she idolizes Williams. She has been admiring the 6-time US Open champion all throughout the tournament. In an interview last Monday she said:
“It’s no secret that Serena is my favourite. I’ve watched all of her matches in the US Open this year. I’m just really grateful that she’s playing again.”
The upcoming finals match will not be the first time Osaka and Williams face each other on the court. The two battled last March at the Miami Open in which Osaka defeated Williams with a score of 6-3 and 6-2. Despite this, Osaka’s odds of winning, set by William Hill at 11/5, are still low.
At the semi-finals, Osaka was set against 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys. Keys’ constant replies to the net and poor service led Osaka to winning the first set with a score of 6-2 and the second set with 6-4. When asked about how she felt on her success at the semi-finals, Osaka said:
“This is going to sound really bad, but I was just thinking I really want to play Serena. Why? She’s Serena. What do you mean?”
Expectations are high for Serena Williams as her experience overshadows her 20-year-old opponent Naomi Osaka. But after winning Indian Wells and paving the way for Japanese women tennis players, will Osaka make another mark in history as the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam? Or will Williams claim her 24th Grand Slam title?
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