Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese woman to reach the US Open final after beating last year’s finalist, Madison Keys in the wee hours of Friday.
The 20-year-old Japanese, who won the Indian Wells Masters in March, powered to a 6-2, 6-4 win in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It means a lot, especially since everyone in my team’s watching. Thank you guys,” Osaka, who’s dropped only a single set in Flushing Meadows all fortnight, said.
“It still feels really weird, because I’ve never beaten Madison before so I’m just really glad I was able to get through this match because she’s such a good player.”
Osaka will play her idol and six-time champion, Serena Williams in a mouthwatering final showdown on Saturday.
Serena Williams produced a masterclass display to thrash Anastasija Sevastova and advance to her 31st Grand Slam final.
Williams recovered from 2-0 down in the first set to win 12 of 13 games and storm to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Latvia’s Sevastova in just an hour and 6 minutes.
“I just was like, I gotta play a little better. Again the crowd was so intense and helped me out so much after those first two games,” Serena, who could become the fourth mom to win a Grand Slam title on Saturday, said.
“I was like, alright, these guys really wanna be out here and see me play and so I wanna give them the best that I can.”
This is Williams second Grand Slam final after giving birth in September last year. She lost the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber in July.
Osaka beat Williams in their only previous meeting in Miami early this year. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out for the great American, who’s chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.